A Short Conversation with…Shelly S. Terrell
I recently discovered a website named Teachmeet New Jersey: Fresh Ideas for Education. The site introduces educators to its readers by conducting short interviews. I really like that idea so I asked a few people from my PLN to answer a few questions about education. Enjoy.
How long have you been teaching?
I received my first group of about 100 kids at my inner-city church in 1997. I was a sophomore in high school. Teaching these children who faced really painful situations taught me a lot about the educator I wanted to be. The goal wasn’t forcing facts down their throat. The goal was to provide these children with compassion and support their emotional and learning needs.
Has your educational philosophy changed since you began teaching?
Bits of my educational philosophy always continue to expand but the foundations remain the same. I believe in being a guide versus a guru. I hope I inspire my students to desire to learn and continue their learning journeys for life. Also, I hope to plant in them the seeds of belief that they can achieve more than they came from.
If so, what led to this change? Was it a gradual process or a specific event?
I have always know children learn differently and each one has their own learning preferences. However, I never found a theory to support this or help me explore this until I encountered Rita Dunn’s Learning Styles Inventory research and theory. Rita Dunn believed that physical, psychological, physiological, and environmental factors should be considered when we think about how we optimally learn. Teachers can give a survey to students of any age who will be able to find out information about their learning style and the factors that impact this such as light, movement, time of day, and so forth. When I took the survey, I felt like a lightbulb went off!
Has Twitter played a role in your evolution as a teacher? If so, how?
Through Twitter I am able to collaborate and have continuous conversations with educators worldwide. It is motivating. I remember being stressed with the piles of work that come with our profession. I’m also one of those educators who notoriously brings my work home! Imagine, though, receiving a text message daily from some of your best friends saying what an inspiration you are and messages that inspire you to continue the teaching journey because in the end you are changing lives. This is Twitter! My friends, from all over the world, that I have met in several countries, continue to inspire me! I really appreciate them!
Shelly Sanchez Terrell is the VP of Educator Outreach for Parentella and the Social Media Community Manager for The Consultants-E. She is also the co-organizer and co-creator of the award nominated educational projects, Edchat, The Reform Symposium E-Conference and the Virtual Round Table conference. The New York Times learning blog has included her on its list of the top 78 educators to follow on Twitter. Visit her education blog, Teacher Reboot Camp, for resources for effective technology integration. In the fall of 2011 find her book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators on Amazon. Find her on Twitter, @ShellTerrell. She also teaches young learners in Germany.