STEM and Innovation
I help teachers understand the interdisciplinary nature of STEM, and how STEM-foundational thinking belongs in every classroom. A classroom that promotes and facilitates STEM-foundational thinking and instructional activities is one that promotes innovation, creativity, positive classroom behavior, and a shared determination to achieve. True STEM equity is achieved in the classroom learning experiences. I believe that with appropriate, scaffolded support, teachers will be able to increase the amount of STEM-foundational thinking occurring in their classrooms, thereby deepening the learning of all students, and using technology to make the world a better place. This is exactly what STEM-foundational thinking is all about: incorporating project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum supported through teacher, student, and parent collaboration and technology; fostering creativity, invention, and critical thinking.
Large-scale Learning Experiences
Innovative teaching requires teachers to create large-scale learning experiences for students and encourage them to fulfill their own moonshot idea. I design and promote large-scale learning experiences that require deep learning because “learning is optimized when students are involved in activities that require complex thinking and the application of knowledge” (Hess, Carlock, Jones, & Walkup, 2009). STEM is more than an acronym; it is foundational thinking required for every student (and their teachers) to be successful in the real world. My main priority with every student and teacher is to create a learning experience that goes beyond textbook and worksheet learning. To change the world through engineering and designing ideas.
Elementary Education Pedagogy
Learning matters. Perhaps I have become too close to my profession, too close to my students’ lives. Perhaps the stakes have become so high (whether with standardized testing, which results in school funding, or high school graduation rates based solely on race) that I can no longer afford to treat teaching as just something I enjoy doing. I revel when a student makes a meaningful connection to a difficult concept for the first time. I rejuvenate from creative thinking. More importantly, however, I am satisfied knowing that I am a positive agent of change: an absolutely necessary change towards excellence and equity in education.
Culturally Responsive Education
I have a civic and moral responsibility to educate. Teaching is difficult, but when have moral responsibilities ever been easy? Teaching is no longer just a job that I enjoy and do well. There is just too much at stake for it to just be a job. Teaching represents my duty to encourage and elevate the thinking of today’s youth, especially my minority students. And while I continue to create communities within my classroom and make meaningful connections to my students, I take the racial achievement gap very seriously. Through classroom communities and meaningful connections, I hope to encourage my students of color to be critical thinkers, an essential skill in today’s world. My students will be equipped with the skills to embrace life-long learning and succeed outside of the classroom.