Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Master of Science Teaching
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Chemistry, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
Boston College S.E.U.S.!
Current academic or teaching status:
New full time teacher
School and school district:
Academy of Innovative Technology
My passion for solar energy and concern for global sustainability has propelled me into a life of science. My love of education, however, was not realized until I worked as a teaching assistant here at Boston College for a General Chemistry course. As I got to know the students and develop fun (sometimes comical) chemistry problems that would relate lecture material to our physical world, it became clear that I had found something that resonated with my personality and convictions. I left the chemistry Ph.D. program behind, where I was conducting research in solar energy and nanotechnology, to further explore and develop this new-found love to educate about something important.
Why do you want to teach:
Every child has the right to a world class education. Inspiring students to become global citizens who are self-realized critical problem solvers that bring to the table a diverse set of skills is a task that takes time, patience, and dedication on behalf of the student and teacher. A teacher’s objective is not farming pupils through rote learning and memorization, but to foster an environment where they may grow fully capable of self-education. Students bring an incalculable array of strengths and diversities into the classroom. They all, however, have the potential to succeed when effort and reasoning are employed to rationalize, debunk, and innovate despite socioeconomic and cultural differences. I aim to assist in the development of these attributes for urban high school students as they become an invaluable asset to our community, nation, and themselves.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
One of my Chemistry students with special needs failed the second term with a 38% average. During this time, I observed her during class (I did not take over this class until 3rd semester), got to know her personally through informal conversations, and evaluated her work through formative assessments while assisting the class during my pre-practicum experience. I learned that this very bright young woman had confidence issues and would readily give up when presented a challenge. As a result, I first reviewed her IEP for accommodations and modifications. Learning that she was allowed extra time on tests and scaffolding, I made sure to check on her progress periodically throughout testing periods and inform her that she could stay after school and be let out to finish. I also made a deal with her to stay after school for help with past-due labs, homework, and studying. If she came in for assistance, I would not mark her work late. Eventually she caught up but still came afte rschool so her work would be completed on time. During class, I listened more attentively for her quiet voice during group discussions to draw out correct answers and encourage her to demonstrate quantitative solutions at the board. After praising her excellent contribution in front of classmates, her confidence started to increase. During our after-school meetings I would tell her she is incredibly bright and can solve problems when given enough time. I assured her that she deserved and needed these accommodations as they were essential to her learning. I continued to note her talent with respect to the rest of the class by placing her on my “Mr. Levine’s list of high achievers,” a poster on the classroom’s front door for every passerby to acknowledge. Sydney earned a place on this poster because she scored an 88 on the last exam and was awarded the status “most improved.” By the end of the 3rd term, she earned a B average, became more confident, and needed much less individual instruction and scaffolding to maintain her higher average. Early in the 4th term, she dropped by to see my cooperating teacher while I was teaching an ESL class that was about a week behind her class. As the teacher wasn’t present, she waited, standing at the back of the class observing the chemistry lesson. When I asked the ESL students what we call a particle of light, she proudly announced “a photon!” to our class. I believe this outcome was successful because of her marked improvement and ability to maintain higher grades without as much assistance. She became more confident verbalizing her answers during class discussion and generally seemed less shy.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program has given me the opportunity to develop my craft. The friendships and supports built through entering this program will undoubtedly aid me in my desire to be the best teacher I can. I feel lucky to be part of this program and have every intention of making my mentors proud.