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From the Lens of a Former STEM Educator

As a classroom teacher, I have served in a variety of school environments including both charter and public school spaces. However, the schools that I was most fond of were those that served students of diverse ethnic backgrounds in low-income areas. I felt that my passion and calling were to help students fall in love with science.

I believed in “planting seeds” that might help students to garner early career interests in STEM fields. This process began each year by setting aside time to learn about my scholars’ unique cultural backgrounds, interests, and aspirations. Some might have regarded these attempts as a waste of time in relation to the stringent demands of our pacing calendar. However, I found this work to be an essential component of our classroom learning environment.

Building An Environment of Collaboration & Connection 

Together, my scholars and I found ways to build a classroom culture of trust, joy, and excitement. We accomplished this by “pushing against the grain”: utilizing non-traditional assessments, emphasizing collaboration, and focusing on learning progressions motivated by my students’ interests. My most proud moments as a teacher were the whispers of “I can’t wait to go to science class today!” or a student asking “Can I just stay in your classroom today?”

Our collaborative classroom environment was grounded in inquiry-based learning and enhanced through the intimacy of rapport, connection, and shared experiences. To accomplish this, it was essential to learn what made each of my students unique. This aided me in developing meaningful learning experiences based on my students' innate abilities and experiences. Each student had something valuable to contribute to our classroom. 

In 2021-2022, I was recognized as the Teacher of the Year, however, this was not a result of my own doing. It was a result of the commitment of an entire “village” of scholars who were vested in learning science in a way that honored our collective interests and needs. We had an absolute blast engaging in experiential learning, working through hands-on investigations, and building an atmosphere conducive to academic excellence. Our efforts were rewarded with meaningful bonds and significant strides in achievement on standardized assessments. 

Powerful Bonds & Powerful Learning 

We had so much fun that many of my students were surprised to learn how much information they absorbed from our learning experiences. I was often blown away by the non-traditional ways that my students demonstrated their knowledge. Consequently, I aspired to provide more opportunities for them to demonstrate their learning in ways that came naturally to them. I was intentional with the learning progressions I utilized in the classroom and constantly found myself creating, modifying, and redesigning activities so that they better aligned with the interests and needs of my scholars. 

Why I Joined Propello

I joined Propello because their professional vision aligns with my personal goals. My time spent as a teacher was fulfilling and exhilarating, however, I became frustrated in my attempts to focus on authentic teaching and learning while juggling all of the post-pandemic administrative priorities placed upon teachers and instructional leaders. Moreover, I was troubled by the amount of time I spent creating and redesigning activities so that they better aligned with my students’ needs. I decided that it was time for a change and I sought a new position that would allow me to share my knowledge and experience with a broader community of teachers and scholars. My passion for education never faltered but I am able to do so much more in my new role as a curriculum editor.

Here at Propello, we believe in providing ALL students with engaging and personalized opportunities to learn. We achieve this by developing hands-on learning experiences that are based on students’ unique needs. We are working to create a product that not only satisfies standardized curricular requirements but also provides opportunities for students to plan, ideate, build, and have fun while in the classroom! 

Helping Students By Helping Teachers

Most importantly, we aspire to aid teachers in lesson planning by mitigating some of the demands placed upon them. We do the work so that teachers can reclaim their time. Who has time to plan a lesson in front of a computer all weekend!? Teachers deserve to leave work at work, and our product will allow them to facilitate unique and personalized learning experiences while saving that most precious element: time. 

Our team of experienced educators aims to help close the opportunity gap by providing teachers and students with opportunities to soar! We take away some of the demands placed on teachers so they can do what they do best - TEACH!