I started teaching in 2006 at an Arts and Racial Integration magnet school near Minneapolis, MN as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher. Having grown up in Wisconsin, primarily in a suburb of Milwaukee, I entered the classroom largely ignorant of the ways that Race and Culture can impact every student's educational journey.
Thankfully, I had students who insisted I learn what it meant to be a white guy at the front of the room, do my best to empathize with the kids in front of me, and never stop working to be better.
Over the years of my career, I've taught middle and high school, coached middle and elementary school teachers, and been a member of many different leadership groups within my schools and districts.
In 2014, I was named Minnesota's Teacher of the Year. I spent my year speaking and writing about anti-racist education and supporting newer educators.
A few years ago, I released my first book, It Won't Be Easy, an Exceedingly Honest (and slightly unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching. The book was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, and is being used in many college and high school classes for pre-service teachers.
I am still a full time teacher, still teaching 8th Grade Language Arts, still counting on my students every day to hold me accountable to do the best possible work I can for them.
City Pages - One Teacher's Brutally Honest Story of Surviving School.
I’d spent years writing essays no one would read and probing research that would never help me to get there, working and reflecting and dreaming of all the ways I was going to be one of those teachers: the natural and inspiring who wore stylish sport coats, whose classroom was a sacred space of literature, of rebellion, of learning.
BBC - How I Stopped My Teenager Being Recruited Online
Mr Rademacher says that after a conversation about how to share their feelings, some of the boys even joined the school's anti-racist leadership group.
"They're still young boys," Mr Rademacher emphasises. "They're trying to figure out where the line is. Why things are funny and why things are offensive." And white teenagers are "ripe for radicalisation" now amid broader cultural changes that make them "feel like they're under attack" from mainstream society, he says.
MinnPost - What if the Youngest Teachers were the Most Protected?
"Every once in a while the universe rocks back and forth a little on its axis and ends up right where it ought to be. Exhibit A: Tom Rademacher, aka Mr. Rad, is halfway through his reign as Minnesota Teacher of the Year and he is killing it."
Star Tribune - Minnesota Teacher of the Year Honored at White House
"The system that we have is not structured to serve all the kids that we're supposed to serve," Rademacher said. "So the teacher job is to bridge that gap between what you're asked to do and what you know you need to do for your kids."
FAIR School Superintendent Keith Lester, says Rademacher is not afraid to discuss issues of race and equity and connects easily with students — qualities that make him a standout teacher.
The critical thinking that results from Rademacher's teaching will help inform the next generation of American leaders, said Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
"Tom Rademacher doesn't just teach English — he constantly asks students to think critically about community today and around the world tomorrow," Ellison said.
MPR - Young Teachers Need Mentoring to Thrive, Survive
Rademacher, who's in his ninth year of teaching, is frustrated with what he considers a lack of support in a teacher's first year.
"We're still relying on this kind of bizarre sink or swim mentality," he said.
National Summit For Courageous Conversations Teaching & Learning Award, 2018
Minnesota Book Award Finalist, 2017
Minnesota Teacher of the Year, 2014
University of Minnesota CEHD “Rising Alumni” Award, 2015
Emerging Leader Grant, Education Minnesota, 2013
TIES Exceptional Teacher Award, 2012