Today’s interview comes from our guest blogger Kelli Iannacone! Ms. Iannacone discusses her career and a few things she loves about being a project-based teacher. She began her career in 1996 as a 8th grade science teacher. Four years ago when the PLTW position opened up at her school she began teaching 6-8th grades. Over the years she has taught design and modeling, energy and the environment, flight and space, automation and robotics, and medical detectives.
I was inspired by Kelli’s enthusiasm, experience AND I love her positive attitude!! So, I compiled a list of things Kelli says she loves about teaching…
Having a great supportive professional learning community. “I have a great supportive professional learning community in my building!” Additionally, as a Project Lead the Way teacher, Kelli and and I are part of the PLTW Community of Teachers and Master Teachers. Many share without compensation and are just so willing to share strategies as well as materials. (Check it out here – https://www.pltw.org/)
When students choose the class and are involved in the content. Most kids who elect my classes are kids that have a high interest in the subject area and are highly motivated to do well.
When teachers learn from their students. Kelli says, her students have been the best teachers through out her career. “They are honest and real.” Having taught 7th and 8th grade myself, I couldn’t agree more. I would frequently have an opportunity to see life through their eyes and doing so helped me grow as a person.
When there is more than one right answer. One of the things that I love the most about teaching pre-engineering courses is that they center on solving problems. Once a problem is introduced, students use the engineering design process to work the problem and develop solutions. For Kelli, it’s about breaking the problem apart into small parts to better understand two things: what I don’t know and what I need to know. If a student gets stuck, she will commend them for recognizing that they are stuck and often say there is more than one “right” answer.
When the curriculum is hands-on. PLTW has designed the curriculum using the APB approach (or activities, project, problem) I usually start with the end in mind and remind the kids that there are pre-requisite skills and knowledge needed to solve any problem.
Thank you Kelli for allowing me to interview you for this blog (and podcast…coming soon). I look forward to many more teacher interviews. If you are an educator and are interested in sharing your experience, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
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