Where was your Student Teaching placement?
Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Deer Isle, Maine
Following my graduation from Bowdoin in May of 2015, I moved to Deer Isle, Maine and worked at Deer Isle-Stonington High School as a paraprofessional until shifting into my student teaching practicum there in Spring 2016. I was able to teach two different courses in U.S. History. One of them covered traditional content, while the other was a team taught, interdisciplinary effort that was part of the high school’s offerings in their Marine Studies Pathway. Entitled “U.S. History Through the Fisheries,” the course sought to integrate skills and content knowledge of history, English, and marine trades. Throughout my practicum, I collaborated every day with my team of teachers and developed new curricula with the intent of giving each student as personalized a learning experience as possible. While I leave my student teaching experience with knowledge of how to develop better lesson plans or modified assessments, perhaps my most important take away is to remember the process of reciprocal transformation that occurs with teaching and learning. In order for learning to take place, I must first remember to ask not what I have to offer my students, but what we have to offer each other.
I first began to think about a career in teaching after my sophomore year of high school. I had always been a “good” student in the sense that I achieved high grades and was very studious. That year, however, my history teacher became the first to really challenge me to embrace failure and to get out of my learning comfort zone. His approach to teaching and assessing history was far different than anything else I had encountered to that point in my life – he made me actively bring the learning to him, rather than having me be a passive agent in the classroom where he imparted knowledge of the content onto me. After taking his class, I was hooked on history with a new sense of excitement and ownership of how and what I could learn. From that point on, I began to think that becoming a history teacher would not only allow me to continue exploring a subject that I found fascinating and exciting, but more importantly it could give me the opportunity to inspire students to develop confidence as learners in the same way that my teacher did for me.
At Bowdoin, I have taken advantage of opportunities provided to develop an understanding of and skills in educational policy, philosophy, and practice in a wide range of contexts from urban to rural. I took part in two Alternative Spring Break trips focused on learning about urban education, one as a participant in New York City, and another as a trip leader in Washington, D.C. For my pre-practicum experience, I was placed in a tenth grade Civics and Government class at Falmouth High School in a suburb of Portland, Maine.