Teaching Excellence Teacher Spotlight: Tyler Dowdy
Teaching Excellence 2011 Alum
What grade-level and subject do you teach? What additional responsibilities do you hold on your campus?
My name is Tyler Dowdy, and I teach Reading to the Marvelous 6th graders at Yes Prep West. In the fall, I was split grade levels and taught a section of 8th grade English Language Arts. I also am the sponsor of Club SWAG (Students of West Achieving Greatness) and had the opportunity to work with our Yell Leader in preparation for Senior Signing Day.
Where did you attend college and in what did you major? List all that apply.
I attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a degree in Corporate Communications.
What is the best part of teaching? What is the most difficult part of teaching?
The absolute best part of teaching is the students – their eagerness to discover something new, their determination to succeed, and the celebration in those “a-ha” moments. These are the parts of teaching that ignite my passion to provide the best education for every student. In contrast, the most difficult part of teaching is probably the responsibility of 30 students – their behavioral and academic needs – and having patience. Unfortunately, grasping a new, abstract concept most of the time does not happen within a 60 minute class period. But the key is to be PATIENT (a simple idea that seems to be a bit more complicated when put into play).
Describe a successful teaching strategy that you use in the classroom. How does this impact your students’ achievement?
The most successful teaching strategy that I used in my classroom was building positive relationships with my students. I have seen my classroom completely transform – management wise and academics – through the building of a strong accountability between my students and myself. It was no longer the teacher up front and the students in their seats; instead, the classroom became a joint partnership with the teacher working WITH the students, learning about one another, listening to the conversations of the class, and using personal experiences as teachable moments.
What 3 words would you use to describe the experience of participating in Teaching Excellence?
FOREIGN (In the beginning, everything from lesson planning to classroom procedures was new to me)
UNITED (collaboratively working together with Daya, my Instructional Coach)
PARTNERSHIP (working WITH one another to focus on how to empower all of my students)
What advice would you have for a future educator about to enter the Teaching Excellence program and the teaching field?
The students are worth it – they are worth the long hours in the copy room, the hours of frustration on the computer planning a lesson and trying to incorporate foldables, the chaos that ensues when a lesson doesn’t go exactly as you had planned. My kiddos deserve an excellent education, and thankfully Teaching Excellence supported and guided me all along the way. Just remember to not lose yourself in the crossfire.
When you are not working on closing the achievement gap, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to be outdoors, spending time with friends on the lake, eating chips and salsa, exploring new places in Houston (check out Tony’s Mexican Restaurant – incredible), and two-stepping – it must run in my blood being from Texas.
If you could create a t-shirt with a slogan that represents your philosophy of education, what would it say and why?
“Commit to Teach. Commit to Learn.” Throughout my entire year, I realized that the commitment to teaching is also a commitment to learning as well. Everyday, I learned something entirely new about my students, my profession, and even myself.