Starting fall 2014, I will be teaching Social Studies (9th grade World History and 10th grade US 1) at Ridgewood High School, a public school in Ridgewood, New Jersey. I am so excited to meet my students and guide them along on this brief but important part of their educational journey. As I began to do while a student in TPP, I will continue to foster a student-centered learning environment focused on building not just skills in research, analysis, and communication, but skills for all time: reason, compassion, reflection. I am fortunate to be collaborating with a special education specialist in the US 1 classes, an opportunity I also had during my student teaching semester. I will continue to build my practice from the academic and experiential foundations that I laid down (in collaboration with so many others) during my time at TPP. And of course I look forward to being part of the alumni network and helping out in any way that I can! TPP alumni and other professionals made frequent and memorable visits to our seminars, and I stayed in touch with a number of them. One of those professional contacts even led to my current job.
My time in TPP was life-changing. I came back to the program as an alum six and a half years removed from graduation, and discovered my true passion in teaching. I will long cherish memories of chatting with colleagues about our respective student teaching experiences - which were both exhausting and rewarding - in response to Dr. Catena's "How's it going?" introduction to each of our seminars. I'll remember just hanging around the kitchen doing work or poking my head around the office to say hello to everybody, especially my advisers Dr. Kent and Dr. Campisano. For me, TPP was a home away from home where everyone put in an enormous amount of effort and thought into their individual and collaborative practices. And boy does it show. Now I'll look to be an ambassador for the Program and its ideals and continue to think about ways in which we can promote connections and conversations - about learning, citizenship, education policy, justice, and innovation - between and among institutions of higher education and secondary education in this country.