We’re always looking for new ways to insert ASCD voices into our conversations on Inservice. With this in mind, we’ve developed a question and answer session for our ASCD Emerging Leaders. The Emerging Leaders program recognizes and prepares young, promising educators to influence education programs, policy, and practice on both the local and national levels. Learn more about Emerging Leaders on the ASCD website.
Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
I am currently the Social Studies/Literacy Content Specialist for the Nevada Department of Education. My day really varies depending on what project I might be working on. I am the state coordinator for History Day and work with several other program related to social studies. I also work with teachers, districts and schools as needed. Often times I am out of the office at meetings or traveling, but in the office the day consists of a lot of email and web updates.
What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
I truly believe that learning is a lifelong journey that we all take.
Why did you become an educator?
I have wanted to be an educator since the first day of Kindergarten. I remember very clearly, going home that afternoon and telling my mom that I was going to be just like Mrs. Lagee when I grew up. Every year I continued to believe that I would be a teacher and when it was time for college, I never wavered. Teaching and Learning is my passion and I intend to make education my life’s work. This passion has turned into me leading in the classroom and in my own school to district and now state work. Being a leader has always been second nature to me and I hope to continue my own personal educational journey through working with other leaders and educators.
As an ASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater impact on education in your community and beyond?
Being an emerging leader can give me the opportunity to grow and learn as a leader, but also develop skills to engage with educators in my own state and across the nation to lead the way to improving student success in our schools. I see myself having the opportunity to explore tools and share them with educators, assist in developing programs and professional development using work from ASCD. I see this program as a wonderful opportunity for me to open the programs, products and services of ASCD to my entire state. I hope that through the paths that align with my interest, will allow me to express what I have learned with others in the education community.
What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
What really turned my own development were two programs…Understanding by Design by Wiggins and McTighe and TPACK. Both of these programs really turned my own planning abilities and my mindset on how classroom teaching should look. I am also a big fan of the books by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, their books about Literacy are amazing and they are professors at the university I attended for my undergrad.
Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
There have been many moments that have led me to realize that the career choice has been the right one. One of the first moments was probably when I was teaching in Las Vegas, NV and there were immigration reform student walk outs all around the country. Several of my students were so nervous about missing school but really wanted to make their voices heard and participate. While it was a tough choice as a teacher to follow the rules and have to mark them unexcused for their absence but also talk about their civic rights to let their voices be heard. In the long run my students felt so proud of themselves for participating but what helped me to realize I was teaching them the best that I could was for them to understand that civic participation was important but so was school. All my students made up their work and passed the course. Several of them did their final semester projects on previous civil rights movements and related them to their own experience.
If you could make one major change in education what would it be?
I would like to see secondary education become more collaborative, I dislike the focus on assessments and keeping all content areas separate. Schools need to build their schedules to allow for teachers to collaborate. In our real lives all these subject areas are not separate so teaching them separate is not truly preparing students for their lives at productive citizens in this country. I would truly like to see more collaborative secondary education settings.
What’s the craziest thing a student has ever said to you?
After taking a field trip with my students to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (when I was teaching in Northern Virginia) my students actually asked to write an essay. I felt so moved that my students were connecting with history and learning lessons from Holocaust and Genocide motivating them to write and reflect on their experience.
Are you on Twitter? Connect with Christine Hull @NVSocialStudies!