QUEST Teacher Leader Reflections from Two Teacher Prep Alumni

The QUEST program is a gift that enlivens and inspires educators...

Cory Picketts '04

Professional development is pivotal to continued growth as an educator, staying in tune with current best practices, new content, curricula, pedagogical strategies, and more. This summer the Program in Teacher Preparation offered a second virtual QUEST summer institute. Participants engaged in a variety of learning experiences related to farms, food, climate and the ocean, and hands-on math. While teacher participants from all over New Jersey signed up for these sessions to continue their professional learning experiences, we also had two Princeton University Teacher Prep alumni join QUEST as lead teachers. Acting as a teacher leader allows educators to continue learning and growing in a new and different way. Teacher leadership is an extremely valuable and rewarding experience for teachers who are ready to work with adults, expand into roles outside their typical classroom environment, and reflect deeply on connections in learning experiences across varied settings. Two of our teacher leaders from QUEST: From Farm to Fork had the opportunity to do just that this summer! They had the opportunity to help plan and facilitate professional learning experiences. During QUEST, the lead teachers helped engage teachers in the process of science, analyze data, facilitate reflective discussion from the lens of a practitioner, and provide resources throughout the learning process. Please see the reflections from Ryan Herbert *19 and Cory Picketts ‘04 below as they share their thoughts on the experience as teacher leaders and Princeton alumni.

Ryan Herbert- "Participating in QUEST first as a participant (2020) and then as a teacher leader (2021) has been the high point of my continued professional development. In both instances, it pulled me back to core scientific tenets of teaching when, as a new teacher working through the pandemic, I had become hyper focused on day-to-day procedures. This year, I gained confidence in leading my colleagues in scientific topics that I have past college experience with. As a new teacher who has been mentored and helped so much, it meant a lot to have an opportunity to start giving back. I appreciate how much Princeton and Teacher Prep remain committed to my growth even long after I have graduated. I am hoping to have many more positive experiences with QUEST and Teacher Prep since they help me maintain the thinking of an active learner."

Cory Picketts- "As an alumni, it is a really special experience to reconnect with the Teacher Preparation Program administration and staff as well as the professors we work with. In my personal experience, many ask me why I went to Princeton University to be an educator. The Teacher Preparation Program and QUEST embody my “why”... There is no greater way to have an impact on our society than to work with countless children and inspire them to think and wonder. QUEST models this beautifully with educators who, in turn, impact their students. The professors and the TPP go above and beyond to help everyone involved grow as educators to have the greatest impact on our students’ educational experiences. The QUEST program is a gift that enlivens and inspires educators, whether you are an alumni or not."

For more information on QUEST or teacher leadership opportunities please reach out to Dr. Jessica Monaghan .