Boettcher Teacher Residency: Resident and Alumni Spotlight
In order to showcase the diverse talent and experiences of Boettcher Teacher Residents and Alumni statewide and provide a glimpse into the residency experience, we are proud to start a new monthly series spotlighting an alumni and resident each month.
Resident: Autumn Wright
Mentor: Danielle Gibbs
School: Monte Vista Middle School
Grade/Content: 6th Grade Science
In second grade, Autumn’s family acquired school desks for their playroom which launched Autumn’s first experience as a teacher. Autumn would make her siblings play the role of student as she owned teacher. Years later, Autumn would see herself embracing the teacher identity again when she left a career in IT to join the San Luis Valley cohort.
“Confidence is a big thing. During [Summer Institute] Brian, Instructor and Field Coach, instilled a lot of confidence in us. He emphasized embracing the teacher identity and saying ‘I am a teacher’ and not ‘I’m trying this out,’” said Wright. “Coming into the first day, I expected to not sleep the night before instead I showed up the first day ready.”
Even though Autumn has been embracing the teacher role since second grade, she attributes her first day of school readiness to the support she’s had entering her new career. Autumn’s mentor teacher and department head have provided her with practical resources to use within her classroom, and her principal has helped her understand the school’s expectations of her. Community is showing to be an important component to Autumn’s fledgling career.
“My husband teaches in Monte Vista, and he talks a lot about community. When I started getting to the point of applying, Monte Vista was my first choice district,” said Wright. “I don’t think I could ask for any more support between my husband, Boettcher and my school. There are Boettcher alumni in my district, as well, and we’ve bonded to create our own little support system.”
Autumn’s hope for the school year is to broaden her student’s understanding of writing genres from comics to philosophical articles. Autumn has also been able to work closely with her school’s reading teacher for cross-subject continuity. With formal education in philosophy paired with a career in IT, Autumn notes there are strengths she brings to the classroom from those experiences.
“Learning to teach adults (IT support) has made me very patient. I’ll bring that into the classroom,” said Wright. “I’ve also learned how to establish relationships with my co-workers, and I’m already building relationships with my students.”
From playing teacher with her siblings to becoming a teacher with true students, Autumn is looking forward to a strong year where she can share her love of writing with her students, as well as, continue to feel supported through the residency program.
Alumni: Jack Markson
Residency Year: 2012-2013 (Stanley Teacher Prep)
Residency Placement(s): Paddington Station Preschool (1st Semester), Stanley British Primary School (2nd Semester)
Residency Year Mentor(s): Ann Elliott (Paddington) and Brent Applebaum (Stanley)
Current School/District: Stanley British Primary School, K-1-2 Classroom Teacher
“If you have the passion, take the action.” – Jack Markson
Why did you decide to teach at Stanley British Primary School?
This is my 5th year of teaching in a K-1-2 Classroom at Stanley British Primary School. Five years ago I decided to do the Stanley Teacher Prep Program. But my journey to become a teacher started in middle school when I knew I wanted to be involved in education in some way. The roads I went down throughout my own education pointed to becoming a teacher. I went to Arizona State University and got a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and it was all service learning. After college, I taught in China for a little over a year and always knew in the back of my mind that I was very interested in the teacher prep program at Stanley. I decided if I wanted to have an impact on education and get a plethora of knowledge as a teacher I should pursue the teacher prep program. I grew up in Denver so I was very familiar with the program and the school partners. I was accepted to the program and began the summer of 2012. My first semester was at Paddington Station Preschool in a pre-kindergarten classroom and second semester was at Stanley British Primary School in a K-1-2 classroom. I was fortunate to be hired on at Stanley British Primary School after my residency year. I have continued to grow as an educator and I believe every year is so different. I have evolved as an educator knowing that I never really stand on solid ground and I want to continue my own education process so I can learn from other teachers and students.
What would you like our readers to know about your school community?
I feel incredibly fortunate to work at a school where I did my residency year and that I had the great opportunity to attend Stanley British Primary school when I was in elementary school. As a community of educators at Stanley, most teachers would align with the philosophy of hands on learning and the ideology and pedagogy that goes along with it. I know I learned so much through the teacher prep program that it has been nice to have that application and see that knowledge unfold in a positive way as a teacher of record. Stanley is an inclusive environment and works with diverse learners. I feel like there’s a Stanley teacher relationship and you always have that support of great teachers in the community. Connectivity and collaboration is conducive to so many positive things. Everyone [at Stanley] is passionate about what they’re doing.
Tell me about your goals for your students this year.
I think my main goal is to challenge my students and to have them feel empowered to take risks. I want to empower my students to take risks in an academic way and through social emotional interactions among their community. I always strive to create a safe and warm classroom environment for my students.
Looking back at your residency year with BTR/STP, which skills/strategies/concepts that you learned that have helped you as you began your teaching career?
The residency year is a year of growth. It’s a great year to find yourself, be introspective, interact with and collaborate with new people. There is a lot of growth that happens during the residency year so you come out as a better person and have a different positive and optimistic outlook on life. I think one main skill I have took away from my residency year is the goal to have an open mind. I apply this skill to the classroom every day. Also, I think that keeping track of my professional progression and growth as an educator is something I learned during the residency year. I also learned to not be complacent and to stay up to date and find ways to continue changing my classroom with my changing world and environment. I think it’s important to prepare students to have the disposition to inquire about the world. I believe in creating globally competent students.
What goals do you have for your career in education? Tell me where you want to go, and how you plan to get there.
I want to have more of a leadership role in education, which is a testament to the great mentors and leaders I’ve had in my life. I would love to take on the role of being a student again and getting back into the academic classroom to continue my passion of being a life-long learner.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who is looking to start a teaching career in Colorado?
Breathe and find that balance and community in your residency year. Make sure to stay true to yourself through the ever changing world and year. Stay energized, enthusiastic and find new ways to challenge yourself.
Learn more about the Boettcher Teacher Residency, including upcoming information sessions, eligibility requirements and information on how to apply.