I’m Kaitlan Peterson, and I’m excited to introduce you to one of the amazing teachers I work with, Claire Taylor. Claire has built a strong culture of student engagement and ownership in her classroom and she continues to work to push all of her 6th graders to think rigorously about math. Read below to learn more about the great things going on in Claire’s classroom.
What organization do you work for?
I work for YES Prep at the White Oak campus.
What grade-level and subject do you teach?
6th grade math
Where did you attend college and what was your major? List all that apply.
I graduated from Rice University in 2013 with a BA in Linguistics and a minor in math.
What attracted you to teaching?
When I was thinking about what I wanted to do after graduation, I knew that I wanted to work with people and that I wanted to do something that felt purposeful. As a kid, I had always been inspired by my teachers and felt lucky to have received the great education I did; I thought teaching would give me a chance to provide that opportunity for other people.
What is the best part of teaching? What is the most difficult part of teaching?
My absolute favorite part of being a teacher is having relationships with my students. Seeing them mature, watching them enjoy learning, and learning about them as people has been a true joy. The most difficult part has been balancing a personal life with my professional one. When you get so invested in students and their success, it is sometimes difficult to remember to take care of yourself.
Describe a successful teaching strategy that you use in the classroom. How does this impact your students’ achievement?
An effective strategy my co-teacher and I have used is to empower students to be leaders of their classmates. We have designated Table Captains who are responsible for keeping group members on task, checking others’ work, and providing academic aid as necessary. These students have risen to the challenge and push themselves incredibly hard to be models for their peers. We also have students who finish first check for accuracy in Do Firsts and grade exit tickets, which provides an incentive to work efficiently! These strategies have resulted in something I am incredibly proud of: students who are self-motivated to work hard and succeed.
When you are not working on closing the achievement gap, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to explore Houston’s great restaurants! There are so many cool places that make great post-work hangout spots J A favorite of mine (….and half of YES Prep) is Onion Creek in the Heights.
What three words would you use to describe the experience of participating in Teaching Excellence?
Complete, constructive, support 🙂