“Children are not test scores”

Before the 2016 graduates of Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College left their May 13 convocation at Wells Fargo Arena, the last faculty member they heard from was Frank Serafini. And in his unforgettable style, the professor (also author, illustrator, photographer and musician) gave them powerful words to carry with them into their new careers.

Serafini warned the graduates they are entering a system that often views children only as statistics. "They are not levels and they are not empty vessels," he said. "They are not sitting in your classroom just waiting to be filled up with the latest set of standards."

He also challenged the graduates not to become complacent in their roles. "When students are bored and confused, it's because teachers can be boring and confusing," Serafini said. "Doing that same lesson the next day a little slower and a little louder doesn't cut it. There's a big difference between teaching for 20 years and teaching the same year 20 times."

Serafini dismissed the Class of 2016 with the reminder, "There's a multi-user, multi-media reality game readily available for each and every one of you. It's called life, and it's time to get out and start playing it."