Teacher Institute Q & A: Garrett Pederson

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How has the experience at the institute changed your teaching?

I now realize the importance of students exploring concepts on their own so that they develop their own understanding. Teaching is not merely transferring knowledge to my students, but giving them prompts and tools to help them reach their own conclusions. My conversations with the talented educators at Curriculum Pathways and with my Teacher Institute colleagues gave me enormous insight into what students need to understand.

What new skills did you acquire at the institute?

Because of the team environment, my communication skills improved immensely! Team members had distinct roles—curriculum specialists, designers, developers—so each interaction had a different focus. It’s that range of expertise that helps make Curriculum Pathways so effective.

How did your experience at the institute match your expectations?

I honestly didn’t know what to expect, which I think enhanced the experience. Going in every day with an open mind allowed me to be more flexible and creative about the products I helped to create.

Can you share a funny or memorable moment from the summer?

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed with colleagues as much as I did last summer.  And I had a transformative moment while attending the summer STEM day and listening to a talk by a SAS executive about the importance of using real data in the classroom. One of my favorite days was working with some visually impaired students and showing them a new way to work with graphs, a process called “sonification” in which visual information is converted to sound. That was enormously rewarding.

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

I felt nervous on my first day. I didn’t know if I was going to contribute much, but fortunately I had many excellent people to steer me through the initial learning process. By the end, I felt that I’d grown so much as an educator through the experience of working with others toward a common goal: helping students.

Why should someone apply to the Teacher Institute?

Because it’s a great opportunity to shape the resources we want to use in the classroom—and to learn from experts about how to improve your teaching. I learned more from this experience than from any college class, conference, or professional development course.

Sum up the Teacher Institute in one word.

Collaborative.

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

Read more from Garrett: Story Time...In Math Class? 

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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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