• Background & Education


     

    My family and I moved to Grosse Pointe in 1986 when I was in 8th grade. I attended Brownell Middle school and the next year went to Grosse Pointe South. 4 years later, I graduated and accepted a full academic scholarship to Wayne State University.

    I studied Chemistry at WSU and after 5 long years graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. At this time I knew education was in my future but I felt that a degree in a hard science would better prepare me for a science teaching position later.

    Near the end of my college career I felt the need to see the world and somehow do something good so I applied and was accepted into the Peace Corps!  I left for the Peace Corps one month after graduation and put my knowledge to the test teaching Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics in Ghana. Being out in the middle of nowhere with very few resources forced me to be quite resourceful and teaching took on a whole new meaning for me. It allowed me to express myself and my love of science to the students.

    Upon returning home, I couldn't wait to get into the classroom but without a teaching certificate I knew that I needed to go back to school. I enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Wayne State University. This is a program that allows perspective teachers to work toward their teaching certificate and masters degree simultaneously. My experience was positive and I would recommend the program to anyone interested in teaching.

    Realizing that I enjoyed teaching conceptually based sciences, I chose my certification subjects as physics and chemistry. As a prerequisite for the MAT program I enrolled in 4 physics classes in the fall of 1997. In the winter of 1998, I started the program officially and finished 3 semesters later.

    That spring I interviewed for a science teaching job in Grosse Pointe and was fortunate enough to have made a positive impression.

    Since the beginning of my teaching career, I have spent many of the summers attending advanced physics teaching workshops and classes - looking to enhance both my content and pedagogical knowledge.  In the summer of 2000, I spent 4 weeks at the University of Michigan in Dearborn learning the Modeling Method of Teaching high school physics.  This is a program that teaches content and methodology concurrently as to develop a genuine sense of what your students will go through during the year as well as how to teach the concepts most effectively.  The methodology is purely inquiry-based and gave me the first real sense of what is important in teaching science.   

    I the summer of 2001, I spent another week at U of M Dearborn solidifying my knowledge of the modeling method.  In addition, I was fortunate enough to attend the Project PHYSLab in Portland, Oregon.  This was 3 week, technology-based physics teaching workshop that put 30 teachers in a high school physics lab and asked up to complete and write up over 50 labs!  This was excellent exposure to cutting edge teaching and learning tools and technology.

    In 2002, the summer started off with a 1 week AP Physics workshop at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.  This was definitely one of the most intense weeks of my teaching life!  5 days of 8 AM to 4 PM calculus based physics was almost even too much for me, who loves physics!  At the completion of that week, I was off to Tempe, Arizona for 3 more weeks of modeling methodology at Arizona State University.  The content was teaching electricity and magnetism through the Modeling Method. 

    In the summer of 2004 it was back to Tempe!  Although I have already completed my masters degree, I continue to take classes to become better at my job.  That summer, the course was an integration of mathematics and physics education.  The students were half physics teachers and half math teachers from all over the country.  The course was designed to give math and physics teachers an idea of the type of teaching that was going on in each of the classroom types and to then establish a meaningful dialogue so that there could be honest communication.  I learned a so much and am excited to apply the principles that I learned to the classroom.
     
    In 2005 ASU was again the destination where I participated in a three week survey of science education research as it pertains to the Modeling Method.  We read a vast array of articles on teaching and learning.
     
    Coming full circle, in the summer of 2010 I was given the opportunity to teach the Modeling Method for teaching high school physics to an eager group of physics teachers.  We spent 8 hours each day for three full weeks learning and practicing the method.  And although I was a co-leader of the workshop I learned more about my own teaching through the self-reflection and metacognition that goes into good teaching.  It was a wonderful experience. 
     
    Our workshop was successful enough that we were given a grant by the three local metro Detroit ISDs to teach it again indefinitely.
     
    Teaching is everything to me and I take every opportunity I can to become a better teacher.

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