Teacher Institute Q&A: Laura Croyle

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Laura Croyle has taught elementary school for six years and was a member of the 2017 Curriculum Pathways Teacher Institute. She earned her bachelor's degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching & Curriculum from Michigan State University. She has a passion for literacy and incorporating digital learning practices into the classroom.

Sum up the Teacher Institute in one word.

Enlightening.

What new skills did you acquire at the institute?

I developed curriculum design skills, but I also developed web-design skills. I learned the best way to develop a lesson so that it is engaging and meaningful to a student. In addition, I learned about the foundations of HTML code, I developed better collaboration skills, and I gained insights into the software development process.

How did your experience at the institute match your expectations?

I imagined doing a lot of observing, perhaps offering my two-cents about current teaching practices when asked. I thought we would be “assistants” and treated as such. I didn’t expect to be treated as an equal. But we were. I thought the primary purpose of the Teacher Institute was to help us, as teachers, learn about Curriculum Pathways and to give us insights into what it’s like to work for an educational technology company.

But I didn’t realize that you guys needed us as much as we needed you, that we truly were hired to help develop actual products. You really wanted our insights on current best practices and classroom needs. I think where the summer exceeded my expectations was that we were encouraged to roll up our sleeves right away and create new things. 

How did you feel on your first day? Your last?

I couldn’t wait for the first day! But I had no idea what to expect. I tend to sit back and observe until I am comfortable. So I don’t think I said much. Honestly, I was wary of the whole “shared workspace” because I’m somewhat introverted. 

The last day was sad, but I was also proud of the things we accomplished. 

Why should someone apply to the Teacher Institute?

You will learn about so many really amazing resources that are already up and running, available for you to use in your classroom. Not only that, but you will help add to them! This is so much more than a learning experience: it’s a creating experience.

You will walk away having made tangible contributions to Curriculum Pathways--features you can use with your students and say, “I made this!” You also will work for a group of people that really value your opinion and seek your advice in making the best products possible for students.

Want to join the 2019 Curriculum Pathways Teacher Institute? Applications are now open! 

Read more from Laura: Engage Fake Readers: Provide the Power to Pick and Science: Not just for the Classroom

 

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About Author

Tim McBride

Supervisor, Educational Multimedia Writing

Tim McBride has degrees from Rochester Institute of Technology and NC State University, where he taught English for several years. His first book of poetry, The Manageable Cold, was published recently by TriQuarterly Press at Northwestern University. He works as a writer and an editor on Curriculum Pathways. He lives in Cary, NC, with an American pit bull terrier named Charlie McCarthy and a Catahoula hog dog named Junk.

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