For ten years, I worked as a classroom teacher in Louisiana public and charter schools. I have taught a variety of elementary and middle school classes but most of my experience was in elementary science. My greatest passion is helping reluctant learners because I see myself in them. My entire education was a struggle and my teaching style was shaped by my early academic career. As a classroom teacher I continually asked myself, “What did I need as a student?” and “What would have pushed me to work harder and apply myself?” I knew that I wanted my students to see educational concepts in simple terms that made sense. I also wanted the skills to be something that related to everyday life. I wanted them to see themselves as successful learners who were able to interact with the material that was being presented.
I started my teaching career in a rural public school that had few resources and very little parental support. The school didn’t have a big budget for expensive science equipment so I used everyday items that the students were familiar with and had easy access to in their own homes. Using familiar items in a new way helped the students see science in the things around them. They discovered that science didn’t always involve expensive equipment used by professionals, but instead existed all around them.
When I was introduced to NICERC STEM EDA curriculum, I was teaching middle school science. The material was exciting to me! I felt I had finally discovered a company that understood what my students needed. It also was exactly what I needed as a teacher. The lessons were well-prepared, flexible, and rich with content. I felt empowered as a teacher and my students were energized and engaged!
When I joined the NICERC team in 2015, I found a team of people who shared the same passion for education. Each person uses his or her gifts to change education and equip teachers to be the best they can be. What NICERC does is unique and powerful in the world of education. This is why I chose NICERC. This is why I will continue to choose NICERC every day.
This blog comes from Jon Ownby, one of NICERC’s Curriculum Development Specialists.