What makes a good Teacher Institute application? 4 tips from the experts.

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The application for our 2019 Summer Teacher Institute is now open! The application consists of three parts: a series of written responses, a 3-minute video submission, and the creation of your own Crio lesson. Want to make your application stand out? Here are four tips from our Institute alumni.

1. Do your homework.

Prior to starting your application, David Balmer suggests "experimenting with Curriculum Pathways tools and resources." Weave your knowledge of the product into your responses. The Teacher Institute is an opportunity to grow as an educator, think critically about existing Curriculum Pathways resources, and innovate around the next generation of edtech. It is BY NO MEANS an 8-week tutorial of Curriculum Pathways. Amy Wilkinson says the Institute is meant for "someone who isn’t afraid to share their ideas. Someone with a willingness to look at things from a variety of different perspectives." That being said, on day 1, participants should already be familiar with the product and ready to start sharing ideas.

2. Highlight growth opportunities and goals.

We hope participants get as much out of the Institute as we do. According to David Balmer, the Institute is for "someone who has a growth mindset and is willing to take risks in expressing their ideas and creativity." Through your homework about Curriculum Pathways and SAS, think about what you have to learn through the Institute. Jessica Peacock joined the Institute the summer before her first year teaching. She suggests applicants, "talk about your weaknesses and how this institute could help you become a more effective educator." Setting goals at the beginning of the Institute will ensure the experience is tailored for maximum effectiveness.

Also, we want your summer to align with your interests. Shannon Russell Hardy says "try to be clear which curriculum or content you most want to develop. I am a generalist, and I spent a lot of time hopping between social studies content, math, and science. I wish I came in more clear with a content area in mind...This would have given me a better foundation."

3. Be specific.

Garrett Pedersen says it best when he said, "Curriculum Pathways will not hire you to tell them how wonderful their resources are. They really value your opinion and want you to help them make their resources better." For that reason, he suggests applicants, "find one or two resources and provide constructive criticism." While we love compliments, comments such as "this is great" or "all of your resources are wonderful" do not demonstrate the critical thinking skills we are looking for in an applicant. Similarly, Laura Croyle recommends applicants "give actual examples of technology you use in the classroom and how/why you use it. I’m sure everyone says, 'I love technology and use it all the time.' Be specific."

4. Be genuine.

Keep in mind, we are NOT evaluating your video editing skills, we want to learn about YOU! Amy Wilkinson says, "Be yourself! Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine!" David Balmer adds, "you don’t have to be flashy or 'extra' in your presentation. Be genuine. Ultimately this information is valuable in the Curriculum Pathways Team in gathering a solid team." Michael Robbins echoes that idea when he recommends, "Be authentic and share your understanding of digital learning and teaching in general."

Kortney Nichols perhaps summed it up best when she says, "my advice would be for the applicants to let their uniqueness shine through, and be honest. The team isn’t looking for the smartest, techy-est teachers, they’re looking for teachers willing to learn, grow, share, contribute, and collaborate."

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

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About Author

Lucy Kosturko

Lucy Kosturko is a curriculum development specialist and research scientist with Curriculum Pathways. She primarily develops and evaluates content for the team's suite of mobile applications. She joined the team in 2013 after earning a PhD in educational psychology from North Carolina State University. During her graduate work, she specialized in self-regulated learning, reading comprehension, and educational technology. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their dogs, Pig and Job.

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