Tracy Polte '87

Know your students well, become a part of their lives, try to reach each of them where they are.

I loved every minute of my time at Teacher Prep, although I was so nervous my first day of teaching that I had to hold on to my directing teacher's podium to keep my hand's from shaking. My student teaching was at Hopewell Valley High School in Pennington. When I finished my student teaching my directing teacher was promoted to assistant principle so I was asked to stay on until they found a long term replacement. I was so grateful for the extra time. I also coached the girls' track team in the spring. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher, but the program cemented that for me. I have never looked back.

I first taught high school social studies at Lower Richland High School in Columbia, SC. Then I worked for a company that consulted with schools about college choices, in Rockville, MD. After that I got back into teaching outside of Nashville, TN at Brentwood Academy - teaching both history and science. I have been at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA for the past 22 years teaching science.

I have been the chair of the science department at my last two schools, a total of 20 years. I am also the Director of STEAM Outreach at my current school, Shady Hill in Cambridge, MA. Shady Hill also has a group of 18 student teachers each year and I serve as the instructor of their science methods class as part of our collaboration with Lesley University. I am also an adjunct faculty member at Brandeis University teaching a similar science methods course to their group of student teachers.

I feel like I am making a difference for someone almost every day, but teaching has changed over the past 30 years. Now there are many more components to my day than there used to be. I am sometimes a parent, a counselor, and a confidante in addition to being a teacher.