I was impressed with Mark from first meeting him at his classroom. He showed me his snakes that he keeps in his classrooms, and explained that he lets his students participate in their feedings. His teaching is similarly enthusiastic, his relationship with the students intimate, yet appropriate in correcting their behavior as necessary. His enthusiasm for science goes beyond the 7th grade (life) science he is currently teaching: it seems that he will be teaching 8th grade (physical) science next year, and he has speculated about the higher level thinking that might be possible in teaching at a later stage of students' development. His lessons engage the students successfully through examples, discussion, and self-guided activities. He challenges the students at a level they can understand, bringing them up to their current potential, while pointing the way toward deeper comprehension in the future. The students respond to his enthusiasm with an eagerness to please in participation and achievement. Mark is resourceful in his planning - using good and exotic examples that he can make real for the students from his own experience. He also provides them experiences through searches and simulations. His room is used as a temporary refuge for the students, but not open when they cannot be properly supervised.Mark's charisma is such that I told him that he has the gift of being somebody you would like to have as a friend. I hope to hear from him as he progresses in his career-wherever he goes from here and now. (Don Krotser, supervisor)
Titus Kim has been student teacher this semester in Kevin McMahon's classroom at Reseda High School. I observed his teaching there, and conferred with Mr. McMahon in my role as University Supervisor. Titus' command of chemistry has been demonstrated in well-planned lessons including discussion with the students and excellent demonstrations. In one case a demonstration showed not only the gas law, but also led as a transition to partial pressure. A set of demonstrations of influences on rate of reactions included; submerging light sticks in waters of different temperatures, adding catalysts to peroxide generating steam and foam, and burning steel wool - slinging it around with a string outdoors. He brings into his presentations a wide variety of media and simulations, and uses technology especially effectively also: he uses an iPad to write to the board and control media from around the room, and has had his students use their smart phones to answer prompts to "clicker" software he controls to return all peer answers to them to choose among. His cooperating teacher, Mr. McMahon, who is retiring, hopes that Titus will be offered his job.
Titus is doing such an excellent job that I hope this will come to pass - or that he will have as good employment elsewhere. (Don Krotser, supervior)
Irv Kodimer, CSUN Secondary Science Educator
(cooperating teacher, Jenny Green)
Scott Phelps, CSUN Secondary Science Educator
(cooperating teacher, Christy Waishwhile)
Tamara Desso is knowledgeable in the subject matter and readily communicates this to her students. She is well-prepared, and organized and her classes are well paced, having different activities in developing a lesson. Tamara uses leading questions well in drawing information from the students. Her directions are clear, crisp and unequivocal. She tries different techniques in her lesson plans. She uses computer assisted instruction very well from PowerPoint to videos.
Ms Desso has very good classroom management skills; the students know her routine and as they enter the room, they quietly sit and start the Warm Up without having a word from the teacher. Ms Desso has developed a good rapport with the students; she is always polite and respectful with the students and usually the students respond in like manner. She models, enforces, and reinforces respect and affirmation in the classroom. Tamara Desso is well on her way to being a very good science teacher.
Jim Wisecaver, CSUN Secondary Science Teacher
(cooperating teacher, Daniella Duran)
Also his relationship with his master teacher was one of mutual respect and admiration. I have worked with Eli Kashman with other student teachers before and found that all his student teachers benefit from his presence. He has always been glad they are there and they always benefit from his mentoring. Not too many Master teachers benefit from their student teacher's presence, but I believe there was an exception in this case. Mr. Kashman has an unusual classroom with some atypical learning technology, such as a 40ft by 40ft audiovisual viewing screen and a wireless lapel microphone he would hand over to Dennis when it was his turn to speak. Dennis had no problem adapting or using this or any other technology in the classroom. He was as comfortable with it and the audio presentation technology as he was with his Ipod. It’s just a more effective way to reach the kids and a lot easier on his voice and so engaged the kids and….
That’s really what so impresses me about Dennis in the classroom, is how he relates to his students. They are actually glad to see him when the walk in the door, they trust him with their answers and their questions and do not question his judgment. He’s the one they can talk to. All because of the respect and trust he’s earned as a result of his interaction with his students. There is a lot you can learn from our outstanding Secondary Science Education program here at CSUN, but I do not believe that that is all there is in Dennis’s teaching tool box. Part of his effectiveness in the classroom is his ability to relate to kids and adults in an easy, comfortable and appealing way that makes learning effective.
Each day I enjoyed his particular performance. It was like watching or listening to my favorite classical cellist. You just had to really enjoy his rendition of the piece and appreciate how he revealed the music’s appeal while he got the lesson across. There was never a day when this did not happen. I quite seriously wanted to just tape it all, maybe do a little editing and then use it to show other student teachers how it’s done. Maybe even on an international basis.
Dennis is a remarkable teacher and the district that snares him will be very fortunate, very soon. What he will have to offer in the future will be to the benefit of many.
Bob Coutts, CSUN Secondary Science Teacher
(cooperating teacher, Eli Kashman)
Stephen Herr is unique among my charges for a variety of reasons. Just as confidence can be displayed in many ways, confidence comes to the person in front of the desk as a result of many causes. You name it, Stephen’s got it going for him. Familiarity and comfort with the classroom environment doesn’t usually come for several years, I know it did not for me in my classroom, but I watched it arrive in F2 at Granada Hills Charter School in a matter of weeks. Stephen seems to have gone on ahead of being just a student teacher, perhaps because he has so much teaching to do and his students so much learning. It feels like he’s been in the classroom all along. Each day the lesson starts, often before the bell has rung and a variety of teaching talents manifest themselves in response to his students’ needs that day. One thing to watch in Physics class is where the student’s minds are at and how their mastery of what’s offered is progressing. Progress in Stephen’s class is not only an inspiration in the educational process, it is something carefully measured, in anticipation of student’s demanding futures at the world’s best Universities. In addition to its classically demanding subject matter, Physics requires a heavy dose of math, appropriate use of lab hardware and a reverence for scientific procedure, method and thought. Stephen does not have to pretend to have mastered these characteristics, they familiar friends, indeed part of who he is. He conveys them very well to his students through example as well as professional technique. In a film shown recently about Einstein’s role in revealing how the universe works, he would stop the film much as I would have done, ask for questions about the film and then clarify the role of Einstein’s interactions with his contemporaries and what it meant to the development of Physics at the time. I listened very carefully to his (9th grade Physics) student’s questions and found they reflected the thinking process shared by the scientists portrayed in the narrative. I also discovered that the students found this process appealing. The lesson was not about some formula that everyone already knows, it was about how a scientist’s mind works. It makes on me wonder what would have happen if Einstein would have had the benefit of room F2 in his during his early years.
Stephen is comfortable in front of the kids as both lecturer and leader. The academic competition at Granada Hills is tight. They are Academic Decathalon National Champions and so the school is very demanding. Being a leader in this environment is no easy task. He is lucky to have Joseph Vanderway as his master teacher mentor. Mr. V’s ability to transition students between academic rigor and real world robotic function and then back again is a side benefit of this classroom. In the commercial world of science and engineering, that’s pretty much how it goes. Once again Granada this year took honors recognition at national robotic competitions. This is an inspiration that Stephen is responding to. He and his future classes will find ‘other ways of teaching’ will bring many benefits, skills and rewards, including interaction with scientists and engineers at such places as Cal Tech and JPL, as well as reveal what real scientists and engineers do at nearby companies like Northrup-Grumman. And so handing over the reins to a young man so filled with promise, comes with confidence and satisfaction. What I and my colleagues worked hard to create, defend and preserve during all these years will be held in caring and talented hands. What we value so highly will be nourished, grown and maintained, and in my opinion, with its future quite secure.
Bob Coutts, CSUN Secondary Science Teacher
(cooperating teacher, Joseph Vanderway)
Carlo Lauchu - LAUSD Teacher of the Year, 2011