Educator Deb

In 1998 I started onto a pathway to become an educator. This pathway has taken me into a variety of learning contexts and is very much a part of how I now identify. I am still on this journey as I explore new ways to foster learning for both myself and others.

Teaching Undergraduate Biology Labs

I had the opportunity to teach undergraduate biology laboratory classes for the Population Ecology course run by Dr. Herbert Kronzucker. In my many conversations with him about science and education I came to think of myself as an educator as well as a scientist. I really enjoyed my experiences in the classroom but was a little disheartened at times that not all my students had a love of learning about science...instead some of them were just "playing school" to get to a particular goal such as med school or a high paying job. I love science! I couldn't understand why this was not so central to my students.

In 2000, before finishing my master's thesis, my partner and I decided to move to the US. My partner left Ontario to move to Colorado where he had found work in January of that year and I was able to join him by September of 2000. I spent that year writing my masters thesis, working on publications and trying to decide which direction to take my life in. Education won out.

Middle School Science Teaching

In 2001 I began working for John Dewey Middle School in Mapleton Public Schools as a middle school science teacher. While I didn't know it at the time I had landed in one of the best supported, most dedicated and innovative settings available to me. I was coached by two senior special education teachers on how to teach and so learned science teaching as a fundamentally differentiated practice, with attention to the needs of each individual student. I was surrounded by collaborative grade level peers who co-planned across subject areas and worked as a team to understand and support each of our students. I was guided by a principal who had assembled one of the most dedicated staffs and stood behind them while also pulling them aside to give clear concise advice when needed.

I was in a classroom with a widely diverse student body who spoke multiple languages, had different ability classifications and challenges, were racially very different from each other and who were at the shift between childhood and adulthood (7th and 8th grades). I saw both anger at schooling and desire to learn in them. I saw curiosity and cynicism I learned to give respect before expecting it. I learned that teaching was about communication and relationships and love of understanding each other and the world around us. I learned that I loved the classroom, the students, the work of science education. I learned that not everyone saw this enterprise as did I.

  • Science, 8th grade, John Dewey Middle School, Mapleton School District, CO, USA, 2002-2004.

  • Science, 7th grade, John Dewey Middle School, Mapleton School District, CO, USA, 2001-2002.

Options - Homeschooling Support

After taking some time off to be with my infant children, I began teaching again in the Colorado Options program that provided instructional support for homeschooling families.

  • Science, 8-10th Grade, Options School (Boulder, Longmont and Broomfield Sites), Aurora Public Schools, Aurora, CO, USA, 2007-2008.

  • U.S. History, Options School (Longmont Site), Aurora Public Schools, Aurora, CO, USA, 2008.

CU Teach and Teacher Education

During my graduate work in education, I taught in a wide variety of university teacher education based courses (see vita) with fantastic co-teachers and/or mentors such as Dr. Craig Schneider, Dr. Erin Furtak, Dr. Valerie Otero, Julie Andrew, Dr. Victoria Hand, Dr. Sue Hopewell, Dr. Ben Kirshner, Dr. Shelley Zion, Dr. Elizabeth Mendoza, Dr. Adam York, Dr. Susan Buhr, and Emily Kellagher.

Middle School Earth Science

Between 2014-2016 I had the honor of working with dedicated colleagues at Broomfield Heights Middle School. I deeply enjoyed the days spent with students thinking about how to best foster scientific literacy, critical thinking and equity in science learning. I was sad to leave these colleagues and students when I immigrated back to Canada in May of 2016.

  • Earth Science, 8th Grade, Broomfield Heights Middle School, Mapleton School District, CO, USA, 2014-2016.