A Year In The Life of A Teaching Fellow – Deborah Brown Garinger High School

By: Barbara Caldwell

July 31, 2013

In the words of Green Day “It’s something unpredictable/but in the end it’s right/I hope you had the time of your life.”  Speaking at the TEDx ED event this past Valentine’s Day was an unpredictable event, but one that allowed me experience an atypical “high” in my life.  I had no idea that I could talk about my students for 13:52, let alone 13:52 without using note cards.  That was one of many challenges for me.  The supporters of the event considered all of the speaker’s obstacles and supported my public speaking growth by all the TED talkers with a speaker coach.  I KNOW that not only changed the trajectory of my talk, but it also changed me.  It enhanced and refined areas of my public speaking that I did not even know I needed to develop.  This opportunity to speak about the Pen Pal project with Charlotte Country Day School sponsored by a Teaching Fellows Institute Partnership Grant let me get the word out about the intrinsic value of creating real-world student work. I also know that bigger messages about my role in the lives of my students although ephemeral can have a lingering effect, based on the type of content and overall goal and aim.  I suppose the culminating peak of this entire experience was to be awarded the “Crystal Apple” award sponsored by Horace Mann at the faculty/staff meeting in April. I didn’t realize that giving a curricular exercise a real world edge would be considered excellence in teaching.  I just think it makes practical sense for students and for me to show that with an audience, what you do and how you do it matters greatly in this world we live in.

See a video of Deborah’s TEDxCharlotteED talk here: https://teachingfellowsinstitute.org/videos/informational/


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