This week we hunted down Courtney Williams, Elementary Science Consultant in Birdsville ISD. Mrs. Williams impressed us with her STEMscopes training video that she made to help her teachers familiarize themselves with the program. Naturally, we were curious about Mrs. Williams' background and how she became such a star. If you haven't checked out her video, you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RueQgs3rNrw.
When you were in elementary school what did you dream of being as an adult?
In elementary school, I most wanted to be a doctor or a teacher. The idea of helping others every day was very appealing to me.
What made you want to be a teacher - did you have a role model or life-changing event?
While I had many great teachers, I would have to say that Mrs. Jobe, my seventh grade science teacher was the person that most influenced me and led me towards education. She had such a passion for teaching and her enthusiasm and love of science was infectious. She was a female leader in my life at a time when I didn't have one. She helped me to fall in love with science and discover all of the amazing things that nature has to offer. I remember going home and "teaching" on my chalkboard in my bedroom almost everyday – my stuffed animals learned a lot of science that year!
What are your two biggest takeaways from your time in education?
1. Every child CAN learn and be successful. Regardless of background, home life, race, gender and any other excuses I have heard. I am a believer that ALL students have the ability and the capacity to do great things. As a teacher, I always try to make the most out of every day. You never know when you are going to strike a chord with a reluctant student. All it takes is one dose of confidence and often the reluctant student is excited and ready to learn. Remember, we have to educate everyone; they will all be taking care of us someday!
2. Make your words count! As a mother, I am always amazed to hear the stories that my children come home with. Sometimes, a very simple and probably unplanned phrase from a teacher is what they remember and hold with them all day. Fortunately, they have all been GOOD phrases. It does make me think about what my students will take away from my class each day. What are they going to tell their parents about the day they had at school with me? As a teacher, I always want my students to feel important, confident, and intelligent. This is the message I hope that they all carry home in their hearts.
How has STEMscopes impacted your life as an educator?
STEMscopes has been fantastic! As the science curriculum coordinator of a district, I help over 500 teachers to effectively implement and teach science to their students. I always struggle with the thought of not being able to help everyone who needs it. STEMscopes offers teachers so many resources and walks them through each standard with very meaningful and engaging activities. For the self-contained teachers, the math connections, reading passages, and writing opportunities allow them to seamlessly integrate science throughout the day. Since everything is organized by student expectation, it is easy for all teachers to find exactly what they are looking for. Also, the teacher background and TEKS unwrapped documents have been a "teacher for the teacher." I will continue to endorse STEMscopes! It is fabulous!
What message do you want our readers to take back to their classrooms tomorrow?
Teaching science can be very difficult: you should allow STEMscopes to make it easier for you! The expectations from the state are very high. Students are being asked to perform at a level that we have never seen before. The writers at STEMscopes are constantly revising and adding additional resources to make things better for the teacher and the students that they service. STEMscopes listens to the feedback that they receive and they are constantly updating and revising their program to make it the best it can possibly be. This dynamic program is definitely a keeper!
How do you think education will change in the next 10 years?
Over the next 10 years, I think that digital learning will take over. Students will be learning more with computers, tablets, probes, and other digital devices. I believe that programs like STEMscopes will be the way that learning takes place in the classroom.
Teaching is uplifting, rewarding, but inevitably exhausting. How do you unwind and decompress when you are not teaching?
When I am not teaching, writing assessments, or writing/loading curriculum, I enjoy spending time with my wonderful husband Rick and two beautiful daughters Angela and Carly. The girls are competitive cheerleaders at Spirit Xtreme in Southlake, TX, so much of our time is spent at the gym cheering for our girls. When we are not cheering, we love vacationing anywhere that there is water or visiting Mickey Mouse in Disneyworld.