THEME 1 : Undergrad/Training

1 I remember taking accounting classes just because they used computers. I had no interest in accounting whatsoever, but it was all computerized and so I thought, 'ya, I'll take that.' Anything that would be digital, even in my undergraduate degree, I was taking psychological aspects of art as a course because it was a prerequisite for photoshop, one of the early photoshop classes... I remember crashing and burning real bad on what I would consider traditional lectures. I gotta remember the content, I think I've blocked most of it out. [laughs].

2 From there I went to the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and pursued a degree in biology with teacher certification with high school science licensure and that was part of a program in North Carolina called the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. It was a full scholarship or a fellowship basically paid off by four years of service in the public schools in North Carolina.

3 I found a great place at Ohio State where they would give me the full ride and I went and got my PhD there in Greco Roman History.

4 I hope my experience will be useful to you because I feel that it's rather an unorthodox journey that I've had in education.I found school uninspiring. My formal education just didn't seem like a necessity to me. It seemed painful, uninspired. I was disengaged. I was falling through the cracks… it a shock to me when I went to get my records in order and found out that I was a high school dropout… What [my university] allows you to do is pretty much write your own degree plan.

5 Originally I didn't get my teaching license. Originally my goal was not to be a teacher.I did a lot of fishing and hanging out along the river that I grew up on. I was really interested in possibly getting into running or working at a community center and building community via athletics.

K - I did statistics for a company in [town]...I went back to [university], got my teaching certificate and came back a little later.

J - I had a history degree coming out of Madison so I went there and got my teaching certificate.

6 No, I have a degree in Journalism and Political Science and I spent about 15 years as a reporter and an editor for a variety of newspapers and wire services.  So I came into teaching as a second or third career.

7 T: I was home with my children when they were small so I taught in Chicago.  I was a homebound teacher in Chicago and then took a number of years off…

I: Were you writing during that period of time?
T: Yes, writing, not publishing but writing.

8 By the way, in addition to my background in aviation and physics, I have a degree from Princeton in electrical engineering but I was fortunate enough to be there in a time when they were experimenting with a dual engineering physics curriculum. We were research and development on neutron generators which we used to initiate atomic bombs… You see my background is not a typical teachers background.

9 My undergraduate was in art education and then my graduate was in elementary education. I immediately went to graduate school because I decided that I wanted to be a classroom teacher and I got elementary education.

10 I went to the University of Illinois to get my teaching certificate. I began teaching right away and I taught seven years and then I took off seven years after I had my own children and now I've been back for three years… I really think the big change was coming back after having my own children… [Undergrad Education?] Essential. I had wonderful training. I think that the idea of student teaching is an idea that would be great.

11 It's an applied history program... Then a doctorate program in curriculum and instruction...
¤<270697>I: The first one, the applied history program that was actually in the school of history then? It wasn't an educational program?
¤<278120>T: Yeah, that was in the history department.
¤<287637>I: Do you think there is some value at looking at other fields to inform teaching practice?
¤<289500>T: You know, I have a lot of conversations with people about that because it's definitely not the way most teachers choose to go... most teachers choose curriculum and instruction. It was harder and did not have an education edge, but with that said, the reason why I did that was because I wanted to learn how historians do their work... and what keeps them in a position to do that. So that's why I made that choice. As it turns out, I feel like, having that context and being able to think in a history fashion has helped me for the work I'm doing now.

12 I got a bachelors degree in geography and then I went and got a 2 year teaching credential on top of that. [Courses?] I can tell you right now that most of them are worthless and the majority of where I learned from was me and calling people who are the same way and we bounce ideas off each other and try to implement it.

13 I worked in a program called Industry Initiatives in math and science education. In the summer time I would place with the scientists at NASA and we were designing curriculum also using computer applications. My undergraduate training I have a bachelors in British literature...  I did not have a teaching program … and part of it’s my philosophy, I think a teacher should major in their content area. I don't think they should major in education.

14  I was naive in some areas and then comes a knowledge and understanding later. I was actually nursing because I really enjoyed working with kids, because I wanted to be a pediatrician. I ended up switching to education. Then I went to Spain and did a study abroad there where I got my Spanish degree too and so that helps me a lot in my teaching too.

15 This is a second career for me. I went back after working at Proctor and Gamble for eight years as manufacturing manager.

16 [Undergrad?] You feel like you are just getting a skimming of what you're supposed to be learning… I learned the word inquiry but I didn't understand what it meant until I practiced it for 4-5 years and could see what it was like on my own. [PD?] Oh, I know what it stems from, wait, I need to back up. Stuff happens in your career. So the first thing that happened was that I went to NASA educators workshop… that inspired me to get my pilots license…

17 I didn't have very good grades to start so I had to go to a community college for a year and then got a couple of jobs outside of education after that first year and then ended up going... for a year for aviation and pilot training... I worked for an airline for ten years, Northwest Airlines, and then some of those jobs in between were working in a factory, making culvert pipes for roads and also delivering caskets to different funeral homes.

18 When I graduated from college, my original degree was in elementary ed but I knew that my passion was to work with younger children so I went back and got my master's degree in early childhood education. Science has always kind of been my area of passion…[took summer classes] ...one in chemistry, one in physics, one was in biology, environmental ed, one was on inquiry, geology.


19 I would say relevant because I had an instructor that used to work for NASA and I think that is what turned me on the science end of things other than another subject area. She brought in a bunch of aeronautics activities and it kind of sparked my interest in that... She was and she used all the NASA curriculum within our learning on how to teach science.

20 I actually started out in the recreation management field working with a degree in records and management up at Estes Park. I own a fly fishing business up there. It has informed my classroom quite a bit... I brought that into my classroom. The way I teach fly fishing, the way I engage people teaching fly fishing I do the exact same thing in my classroom.

21 My undergraduate program was catered for P-12 instrumental music and I do a lot of vocal things to so I took some classes for that. Then my master's degree was geared for vocal music since I teach elementary... Very important because it gave me that base line knowledge to understanding children, how they learn and what I needed to do to facilitate how they learn.

22 It was the classroom experience actually getting in there and doing the field work and watching a good teacher, a mentor, do what she did that that part is where I learned a lot of the techniques and that is what I use today so that was much more relevant than the classwork... I was kind of a non traditional student, though. I went for two years in one college for engineering... I stayed out of school for just one year but then I went straight, well, I worked through college and then I went straight into teaching after that. So from student teaching I got a job where I student taught and stayed there ‘til we moved out of state.

23 The job wasn't anything to do with the college.  I got the job but I was a business major and so when I got the job I realized how much I liked it then I switched to education but the job itself was the best teacher training you could - what worked, what doesn't work 8 hours a day for 5 years.

24  But, I don't care what school you go to, it really doesn't prepare you for what you are going to do in the classroom... Let's back up. I spent a year in England. I taught in England for a year with a fellowship...  learned a lot. I really learned a lot while I was there. That was about fifteen years ago. When I came home from there, I think that was the turning point. I realized that I just spent a year in a country where I knew no one and I knew nothing...

25 I was at home with my kids for right around seven years... We're huge snorkelers. We always go out and camp out at the river or go down to the Keys so we like to spend a lot of time outdoors and in the environment. That finds its way back into the classroom.

[Undergrad?] More so than a textbook but not like incredibly influential.

26 The college of education is a two year program so I did that for two year and then went back for a masters right away. I just wanted a little bit more practice before I started. So I taught part time while I did the master's program and that was also another two  year program.

27 I've been in education for 15 years.  This is my 16th year but out of that time I've only been in the classroom for 8 years. I took a break for 8 years and did work at the district level where I was a literary resource strategist... I have a very good understanding of how to analyze and help reading and writing behaviors and I think that’s because of my undergrad.  Beyond that I don't know if I've used anything [from undergrad].

28 I actually rebelled a little bit against the family career, I guess, a little bit so I actually have a theater degree as my undergraduate but then I was a year out and went immediately back and got my English degree... So, I went back to school and I finished my year as an admissions counselor but then I went back and had to do another year of undergraduate... then I did masters in ed. and I got my certification.

29 I got into UW and then was in the professional development school and I was going to be a pediatrician before I decided to go to the school of education.

30 [Undergraduate work?] Very little. I learned more in my first days of student teaching than I did in almost all of my education classes...

I definitely played video games. It was in the 80's so video games were a huge part of my life... I'm doing my class this year is, I kind of have an alternate reality game and so the kids move through a series of levels in the class.

31 Yes, well not so traditional because I was a medical technology major through my junior year and then I married a nurse and found out that I probably couldn't tolerate a hospital environment so I switched my major to education.

32 I moved back home, dropped out of college to raise my daughter and I went back to school. When she was a baby I went to nursing school... I lived in subsidized housing, was on welfare and food stamps and waited tables on the weekend and graduated... I think every teacher should go to nursing school... I think every teacher should have to wait tables too as far as like multi-tasking and customer service... I also think teachers should have to take acting 101. [Undergrad?] Nobody had prepared me for reality

33 I would argue that my teacher education courses felt to me like jumping through hoops and that a lot of it did not feel directly applicable...

Yeah, I'm kind of a news nut so that's big. Just that I myself am really interested in politics and in current events and so I bring them in. I've had students say that on my grave stone should be, 'I think you'll find this really interesting,' because I am constantly saying that to them. [laughter]

That's a biggie. Travel to other cultures. I just every time I travel I bring new knowledge and insight back to my students.

34 My family was really pushing me to be a doctor and so when I first started I was a pre-med major... I switched... because I started volunteering at the local free library.

My undergraduate program they realized that one of the best things for us was to put us in the classroom so we had two practicums prior to our student teaching so by the time I graduated I had been in three separate schools.

35 I graduated from high school knowing I wanted to be a teacher.  I went to college and I graduated in 4 years and got a job my first year out and I don't have any kids of my own so I've never taken a year off so I've been straight through.

36 I had four years in science and then I had a year and a half in a master's program specifically for teaching...I was going to go into science but there was sort of an incentive for people in ed science to get a masters in teaching so I decided to do that.

37 I was in another career for 7 years... A sports writer for a newspaper.  I was a professional journalist for 7 years out of college... I feel like I draw that almost daily and not even in the sense of just the nuts and bolts of how to write but how to be professional, how to be responsible, the kinds of things that make you successful.


The 21st Century Teaching Project


Seann Dikkers’ dissertation project at the University of Wisconsin - Madison

The Challenge21CTP_Updates/Entries/2011/11/23_Blue_bird_day.html
Theme One
Teacher Preparation21CTP_1.html


Future Study

21CTP Study

Will update as completed

Theme Three

Impact of Leadership

Theme Four

Refining Practice

Theme Five


Analyzing Data21CTP_Analysis.html
Theme Two 
Beginning Narratives21CTP_2.html
Literature Review21CTP_Lit_Review.html