‘Why I Teach’ by Andrea Brook

The College of Education at Michigan State University highlighted area teachers doing great things.  Congratulations to Andrea, a Modeler who resides in Michigan!

Position: STEM Instruction

Location: Lake Orion Community Schools in Lake Orion, MI

The following is what Andrea had to say:

What makes your position unique?

Lake Orion Community Schools is the first and only school district in Oakland County, MI to invest in STEM Instructional Coaches at the elementary level. As a STEM Coach, I work with K-5 teachers and students specifically on science teaching and learning. STEM Coaches lead lesson planning, instruction, and lesson reflection sessions. Developing science-specific professional development is also a key part of this extremely rewarding position.

Share about your teaching style or philosophy.

As a science educator who uses Modeling Instruction, I utilize discourse, Socratic questioning, and consensus building. In my work with teachers, communication and relationship building are key. My own practice has elevated as a result of working with the many outstanding teachers I’ve had the privilege of partnering with at LOCS.

What inspired you to pursue a career in education?

Initially, education was my “fall back”, in case medical school didn’t work out. I declared my major as Biology-Secondary Education, and took TE 150. One of the instructors introduced us to “instructional conversations” as a type of pedagogy, and included an article from a leading researcher. After reading one of my papers, my instructor encouraged me to contact the researcher (Claude Goldenberg, then at UCLA), which resulted in an invitation to work as part of the data collection team in LA Unified Schools. Looking back, this was a poignant moment in my life.  First, because my instructor took such an interest in me and encouraged me to pursue an opportunity. Secondly, because this was the first moment that I was introduced to conversations as a type of pedagogy. Ironically, this is a cornerstone of Modeling Instruction, the main method of instruction I embrace today. I can honestly say that I don’t know that I would’ve pursued teaching if it had not been for TE 150 and the instructor who taught the class.

What advice do you have for Spartans interested in becoming a teacher?

We are at a critical moment in the field of education. Especially for students who are in STEM-related fields, the lure to pursue a career outside of education is strong. What surprised me most about teaching is how intellectually demanding and stimulating teaching can be. I am someone who is intellectually curious, and I have found teaching to be incredibly fulfilling. Teaching is an art and a science; it is both creative and analytical, intuitive and meticulously crafted. Teaching is a fantastic career choice. We need more strong teachers.

**Click here if you would like to follow Andrea on Twitter

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