Teacher Feature – Ms. Philippa Palmer

August 2, 2017

This summer, Inspired Teaching spoke with 2017 Inspired Teacher Leader Philippa to learn more about her experience during the summer Intensive. 

What drew you to participate in the Inspired Teaching Institute?

Knowing that I am inspiring and preparing young children for the future is one of my favorite aspects. I am participating in this institute because I wanted to be able to develop my teaching skills, my pedagogy, my mindset, and my levels of creativity. I was motivated by the question, how do I benefit my students and myself as an educator? I wanted to be able to add layers to my levels of professionalism and instruction across multiple modalities in order to explore more ways to make kids happier and more creative.

How would you describe your experience during the Inspired Teaching summer Intensive this far?

Being at institute makes me feel refreshed. I have been completely inspired from the moment that I’ve been interacting with teaching professionals and Inspired Teaching staff. This professional development has helped me look at the types of ways I can elevate my teaching practices emotionally, psychologically, and physically. 

How has your time as a participant in the summer Intensive impacted you?

The skills and knowledge I’ve gained throughout my time with Inspired Teaching are transcending into all aspects of my life. I noticed that since I began the Inspired Teaching Institute, I approach my personal relationships differently. I’ve started to think more about how the people in my life process, think, and learn differently—and that has influenced how I relate to them. Before participating in the Inspired Teaching Institute, I wouldn’t have been that reflective. Seeing how I applied the Inspired Teaching philosophy to my personal life gave me chills—I didn’t need to think, how can I act as an Inspired Teacher? Instead, utilizing my skills as an Inspired Teacher was instant because this professional development has been transforming for me.

What assumptions or dispositions, if any, has the Intensive tested this far?

I have fined tuned my metacognitive skills and I’ve become more perceptive to my thinking. I used to think that successful classroom management meant that students were quiet, sitting and working. That does not have to be what learning looks like. This professional development challenged what I consider to be typical, good classroom management to describe an environment where groups of kids can be scattered, autonomous, loud, collaborative, and independent. My classroom is going to look so different this year. My kids are going to use all of the space because my schema of my classroom space has changed.

How has the Intensive influenced how you view the role of a teacher?

One of the most meaningful moments of Institute for me was when the Inspired Teaching facilitators challenged the notion that a teacher’s role is to dump information into their student’s minds. I believe that the teachers role is not to dump knowledge. I believe teachers should address student’s minds and ask: what do my students think about this? Teachers should address students’ eyes and ask: how do my students look at things? Teachers should address students’ souls and ask: how are my students doing socially and emotionally? Students are more than students—they are humans, listeners, learners, people who love, people who feel. I want to tap into the other areas of my students’ lives and think beyond academics. This perspective will help me address the whole child.

After participating in the Intensive, what are you going to take into your classroom next year that is different?

A lot! The first thing I want to take into my classroom is a strong emphasis on social and emotional development. I also want to think about how to include physical activity and movement in the moment to enhance my lessons. Another goal of mine for this year is to give my students more autonomy. I will move away from stressing rote learning in order to give my students more freedom. I will give students back their autonomy and offer more choice in the classroom. At Institute, I’ve explored how to ask more meaningful questions and this school year I will incorporate more opportunities for inquiry in my classrooms because inquiry fuels thinking; it sets the foundation for growth.

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