Tell us about your career path at Greenwood.
When I started here in 2007, I had two amazing mentors: Jen Bibby, a French teacher, and Jennifer Walcott, an English teacher. I worked with Jen to build a rigorous, yet applicable, French program at the school and learned so much in the process. From Jennifer, I learned that building a relationship with your students comes before any content. Jennifer also showed me that you can help students enjoy a course without actively ‘entertaining’ them.
After teaching here for several years, I moved into the Subject Team Leader role for the French program. I also got the opportunity to mentor teachers who are new to Greenwood. I love sharing ideas and helping new teachers to improve their practice. I also love helping teachers to reflect on their teaching and ask themselves questions. If a lesson didn’t go well, why? What can they change to make the lesson more effective?
What interested you in the Expert Teacher role?
Honestly, I find the title “Expert Teacher” to be a bit funny because you’re never really done learning as a teacher. That’s one of the things that attracted me to the role: our school is full of amazing teachers, and I learn a lot from observing my colleagues’ classes. Everyone I work with has been at Greenwood for at least four years, and they have developed into very strong teachers.
I’m also really interested in trying new things, and that made the Expert Teacher role appealing. I was keen to try flexible classrooms when they were first introduced at Greenwood and I was one of the first teachers to try the co-teaching model. I’m excited to have more opportunities to incorporate new research and practices into teaching at the school.
What are you learning in this role?
I’ve learned a lot from working with Mary Gauthier (Executive Director of the Greenwood Centre for Teaching and Learning). She has so much experience with different aspects of education and with working with adult learners.
The biggest thing I’m learning is how to have coaching conversations that help teachers grow as professionals. I’m learning how to ask thoughtful questions that encourage teachers to reflect on their practice. I’ve also been working with teachers on setting personalized professional development goals, and on documenting their growth throughout the school year. I have to make sure that my work with teachers - whether I’m visiting a classroom or providing resources or other support - is tailored to those goals.