May 3, 2016
The report offers a series of short essays from 18 teachers, each reflecting on what inspired and guided them into the teaching profession. Some of the highlights include:"I've come to realize that my learning process in the classroom actually feels a whole lot like the science I practiced at the bench: engineering experimental procedures, collecting and analyzing data, and formulating questions about next steps. It turns out that my scientific worldview can really improve learning outcomes for my students," said Kristin Milks, a biology and earth science teacher in Bloomington, IN, who enrolled in a teacher preparation program shortly after completing her Ph.D. in biochemistry."What transforms someone from being a good teacher to being a great teacher is the passion to make connections with students, to constantly evaluate and adjust their practice to do what is in the students' best interest," said Catherine Ann Haney, a Virginia Spanish teacher who has recently been teaching in Santiago, Chile."Enrolling in a teacher education program, instead of starting my career as a teacher first and then obtaining my master's degree after, meant I had a cohort of other soon-to-be teachers to learn with as we persevered through a very rigorous and demanding year," said Jeremy Cress, a math teacher in Philadelphia."I realized that being a good math teacher does not mean explaining clearly, making kids like me, or making math fun. Rather, it means giving students the opportunity to solve problems by themselves from start to finish, to struggle and persevere, and to learn from each other's particular strengths," said Brittany Leknes, a math teacher from Sunnyvale, CA."Together my students and I co-create their identities, their sense of themselves, and their understanding of their place in society. Because I believe wholly in my students' own power, I teach to disrupt school cultures that suggest that students need to be anything less than their whole selves," said Kayla Vinson, who taught social students in the Harlem Children's Zone.Created in 2007, the Leonore Annenberg-Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship was designed to serve as the equivalent of a national "Rhodes Scholarship" for teaching. Working with Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, and the University of Washington, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation provided $30,000 stipends for exceptionally able candidates to complete a yearlong master's degree program. In exchange, the teacher candidates agreed to teach for three years in high-need secondary schools across the country. The Leonore Annenberg Teaching Fellowship was funded through grants from the Annenberg Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York. It served as the basis for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation's successful Teaching Fellowship program, which now operates in five states (Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio), operating in partnership with 28 universities. Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows complete a rigorous yearlong master's degree program, coupled with a robust yearlong clinical experience. Once they earn their degrees, Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows teach in high-need STEM classrooms, while receiving three years of coaching and mentoring.