Keri Gordon’s first teacher training experience occurred early in her life when she was an elementary school student playing school with her cousins. She always played the teacher with her cousins, who were her sometimes willing and often excited students.
“From the very beginning, teaching felt like the right path for me, and it is,” says Gordon, who was a first-generation college student. “It wasn’t easy. It took a long time to get my degree, because I had to work three jobs, but I always knew teaching was something I wanted to take on.”
Gordon’s complex path to her education degree has helped her encourage her students to follow their dreams and do their best. However, while Gordon knew teaching was where she wanted to be, at one point in her career, she found herself worn-out and unmotivated.
“The way I was instructing was teacher-centered. I was getting tired,” she says. “I loved teaching, but I felt like I wasn’t getting the challenge I needed. My students and I didn’t have the passion.”
Gordon says PEBC saved her career.
“About two years ago, my principal encouraged me to go to the math institute. I couldn’t believe how different it was from how I was teaching,” she says.
Before, Gordon says she was doing all the talking in the classroom. The PEBC trainers encouraged Gordon to make her students the center of learning.
“My students are the ones doing the talking, now. They are the ones holding the knowledge, and it’s my job to help them make the connections.” she says. “When I realized we’re all building this together, it got my students excited, because they’re able to share their thinking and challenge each other. It’s deep.”
Whether it is the PEBC Learning Institute, Minds on Mathematics or other professional development options, Gordon says she believes in the PEBC model of teacher training. In fact, she now has taken on the role of staff developer ensuring teachers receive the encouragement and guidance they need to do their best. She also is in a fellowship to be a lab teacher, which is an exciting prospect for her.
“Working with teachers, seeing them make the connection, and being the one who gets to help them is really moving. The energy is amazing,” she says. “Working with PEBC can restore your sense of need in the classroom. I look at everybody at PEBC as my intellectual mentors. This is my purpose as teacher.”