Our Spotlight on Outstanding Teachers
Today: Eleanor Young, Social Studies
Meet the Champions shines a spotlight on outstanding teachers, and how
they make a difference. Right here on the Quick Key Blog, we will be
interviewing real working teachers from around the globe, who make a
difference in their classrooms every day.
Eleanor is a friend of Quick Key’s co-founders. She was very generous in agreeing to our Q&A. Thank you Eleanor!
Eleanor is an avid adopter of new technology. She is currently participating in a Web-based distance teaching program at her school, and she uses technology in her teaching every day.
So, without further ado…let’s meet a champion!
DBE: Why did you choose to become a teacher?
ECY: I chose to become a teacher by accident. in 2008 I was operating my own real estate brokerage firm and working on a masters in history. When the real estate bubble burst, I accepted a job in a high school acting as a liaison between high school and college academics, culture and expectation. Within my first month in the classroom I re-tracked my masters towards education. As I completed that masters in Teaching Upper Level Social Studies I secured a full time job as a social studies teacher teaching world history, civics and economics, American History and a section of college level Global History.
DBE: What is the biggest highlight from your classroom this year?
ECY: 2012-2013 was full of wonder, exploration, rigor and research in my classroom. My biggest highlight was pioneering text book free learning in all my classes opting for academic research and articles in which to facilitate a deepened, more critical approach to history, economics and governance. Using the technique with my own student demographic, who have largely been perceived as underachievers due to issues of poverty, provided data that students, no matter background, will rise to rigorous standards if teachers set them.
DBE: Tell us about a teacher who inspired you. How did they do it? What made them great?
ECY: My 11th and 12th English [teacher] Joe Faulkner has inspired my personal professional pursuits. I failed AP Lit my senior year and had to retake it between 6:30-7:30 am last semester senior year. He made me read and analyze Huxley, Lewis, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Welty, and Knowles, Salinger, and Hemingway. I got a 5 on the exam and fell in love with reading for the sake of probing the human condition and all of our idiosyncrasies!
DBE: How is your profession changing?
ECY: Education in this country is in the nascent stage of a reform movement. Some facets are still working to band-aid ailments but other reform movements are changing paradigms around teaching whole people and whole minds. I’m super excited to be able to witness and be a part of real change inspired by the 21st century condition of globalism, information technology and innovation!
DBE: What is really hard about teaching, and how do you deal with it?
ECY: The bureaucratic urge to band-aid problems rather than working to find and fix real causes of what keeps learners distanced from seeing their ultimate potential. I’m intentional everyday and in everything I do to treat learners as whole people. I expect a ton, I set high standards, I ask my students who they are and what’s hard for then. I have high standards for myself and I commit to learning new content, new techniques, new strategies and new ways to innovate my classroom everyday in a pure effort to model why it’s good to care about and nourish your mind.
DBE: Thanks Eleanor!
ECY: Thank you! Great Questions!