Tch Management Team
I became a teacher because of Ruth Emery, my high school English teacher. She helped me understand the relationship between literature and contemporary life. When she opened the pages of a book, my classmates and I encountered big ideas and worlds we had not yet seen. She helped prepare us for our own lives. When I became a teacher, Ruth helped me plan in the summers, rolling out lines of butcher paper on her living room carpet, working with me to create a map of the coming year. Together we determined where the kids needed to be at the end of the year and then worked backwards day by day. She was my first collaborative partner—helping me to improve my practice while she worked to improve her own.
I came to Teaching Channel from a career's worth of work as a teacher, a public school administrator, a researcher, an author, and a dean of two colleges of education because I believe that Teaching Channel can do for many teachers what Ruth Emery did for me. She was always sharing her approaches and she was always looking for collaborators to boost her skills and knowledge about teaching.
While Ruth is no longer on this earth, if Teaching Channel can capture teachers in Washington working to improve their practices and share those concepts with teachers in Florida and Maine, and then, capture the ways in which those teachers are working on their practice and send those images to teachers in South Dakota and Texas, we have a chance to help teachers all across the U.S. create livelier, more engaging classrooms for kids. This, I know, would give Ruth real satisfaction.
Erika Nielsen Andrew
Chief Academic Officer
As a small child I always knew that I was meant to be a teacher, but it took me a while to figure that out. I went to a large, small-town high school with a huge and competitive marching band. We earned physical education credit so that we could take two periods of music: one for marching, one for sectionals based on instrument type. One day, our fearless leader Mr. Stratton asked me if I would lead the flute session in our daily sectional. Suddenly I found myself standing before 25 flute players looking to me for guidance about both the flute and the music. It was here that I had my first lessons in classroom management. I also discovered my fascination with teaching. I felt the power of what it means when a teacher believes in you, even in a task well beyond your years. I felt deep purpose and satisfaction in passing on this belief to my new “students.” I was immediately absorbed in learning the craft of teaching, a feeling that has not left me in the 34 years that have followed.
I also knew at a very early age the power and importance of teams. As an eight-year-old volunteer at the Jerry Lewis Telethon in Fresno, California, I had my first experience on a team that mattered. I loved how it felt to accomplish something important, and how we egged each other on to be better than we thought we could be. I brought that same spirit to my classroom teaching and subsequent leadership roles. The opportunity to create vibrancy and inspiration for teachers in an infinitely knowable craft, is also what drew me to Teaching Channel.
Vice President, Operations
Who would have thought that some innocent volunteer work could result in a total career change... I first joined the community at East Palo Alto Charter School as a tutor. When the year ended, it turned out there was an opportunity to support school-wide technology and digital literacy integration. In this role, I co-planned with every teacher from K to 8, co-taught and supported technology integration in their classrooms, and I got to be a sponge. I realize now that year was a unique and incredible gift. I spent every day observing effective teachers at every grade level, in every subject area, and had the opportunity to try out new instructional strategies and make them my own. When a position opened up for a 7th and 8th grade math teacher, I leaped.
To the many teachers I met as a student and through my work at EPACS: You inspired me through my years as a teacher and taught me that teaching requires incredible perseverance, more skills than a ninja, and unending confidence in your students. I am excited to bring the same cat-like reflexes from my years as a teacher and coach to Teaching Channel, and work to create a resource for teachers that is as inspiring as the teachers I’ve known in my life.
Vice President & General Manager, Teaching Channel Teams
My second grade teacher, Mrs. Johnston, was the first teacher I remember who had an impact on me. At the time, my uncle was running for U.S. Congress and political discussion was a part of our family dinner conversation. As a result, I seemed to be one of the only second graders somewhat fluent in electoral politics (surprise?). Mrs. Johnston asked me to share this knowledge, providing and encouraging me with opportunities to share what I knew with my classmates. The point being, she did one thing that I believe all great teachers do: help a student to find a strength, bolster it, and support it, giving a student an opportunity to be a star for a given a moment.
All students need chances to shine, to build their confidence and self-esteem. We know everything doesn’t come easy in school, and students across a given classroom struggle and excel at their own pace. A good teacher creates an environment where students can take risks, rise to the occasion and be provided with opportunities to show their strengths and be recognized for them, thus building a foundation and confidence for taking on the next learning challenge.
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