Teacher Institute Q & A: Michael Robbins

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Michael RobbinsWhat did you expect going into the Teacher Institute? How did your experience compare with your expectations?

I had some idea of the experience based on reading the blog posts from the previous alumni, but to the extent of just working with and evaluating the products already made by Curriculum Pathways. The experience provided a much wider variety of tasks that were unique each day and week. Working with the Institute exceeded my expectations on many levels and allowed me to grow professionally and personally.

What skills did you acquire during your summer with Curriculum Pathways?

The Teacher Institute definitely provided me with the opportunity to develop the soft skills we try to build with our students -- teamwork, adaptability, divergent thinking, networking, and reflection, to name a few. The Institute was certainly a workout for my teaching capacity and aptitudes.

How has the Teacher Institute impacted your classroom/teaching?

The experience provided me with insight into the process of developing edtech products from start to finish. The project management process was probably my biggest takeaway. I've incorporated what I learned into the projects students create in class. Students work interdependently, review each other’s parts, launch the final product, and then reflect on its features to identify areas of improvements —  the same process I was a part of at the Teacher Institute.

Tell us a funny or memorable moment.

Working with the #SASTeacherTeam2018 certainly had its fair share of such moments! The team had a great sense of humor and even trivial things would make us all laugh. The day we found the syrup room certainly stands out, as well as putting together a video that simulated corporate interactions and meetings — if “teacher voices” were used!

As for memorable, I was able to join the expert social studies curriculum specialist, Molly Farrow, at a symposium with UNC Worldview on literally the second day of the Institute — hitting the ground running. We also attended an EdCamp at NC State, where I came to a realization that this style of professional development was the best ever.

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

I was certainly excited to start the experience and arrived way too early on the first day!  I was mostly in shock of the corporate-level surroundings =- art pieces in front of buildings, atrium plants, etc.

On the last day I was really excited to get back into school and implement what I had learned throughout the summer and share many resources, including Crio.

Sum up the Teacher Institute in ONE WORD.

Enriching

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

Read more from Michael: Using Crio to Support Professional Learning Communities

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About Author

Ralph Moore

Ralph Moore coordinates and conducts professional development for Curriculum Pathways. He works with schools and organizations around the country and has presented at conferences for organizations such as the National Council for the Social Studies and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. A former army officer and social studies teacher, he spent 10 years on the Curriculum Pathways humanities team creating new digital curriculum products.

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