Published on Nov. 15, 2019
Our current peer teachers started as Cohort 1 participants in the program pilot year, and now act as advisors and mentors to the current Cohort 2 participants.
LORI PINKSTON, Kirksville School District
I became interested in the Linking Science & Literacy for All Learners program when the curriculum director of my district forwarded to me the email seeking applicants. I had recently transferred from an elementary position where I had been teaching gifted students in grades K-5. My curriculum director knew of my interest in science as well as my intention of integrating content from other subject areas into my curriculum.
I didn’t expect to find the content in Flight of the Bumblebee to be as interesting as I did! The PD also helped me realize the importance of building background and vocabulary in all students as well as provided me with several avenues in which to do this for my students. In fact, I was so enthusiastic about the program and what I was learning, that I was able to include my team’s science teacher in the program as well.
As a peer teacher this year, I have enjoyed getting to know the teachers of the new cohort. It’s interesting to see, hear, and help as each teacher finds the best way to present the new text set in their own unique classrooms. They are a very talented and dedicated group of teachers. It’s a marvelous opportunity to be able to work with this program another year.
On a personal note, my husband and I have been married 30 years. We raise cattle as well as a daughter who is pursuing a teaching career through Northwest Missouri State in Maryville. When I have free time I like to read, listen to podcasts, and travel. I also attempt various projects around the house and classroom that are occasionally successful!
GRACE SCHAUER, Southern Boone School District
I grew up on a Missouri farm where we grew wheat and raised sheep. A love of nature led me to pursue a degree in Fisheries & Wildlife Management at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A wish to share that love of nature led me to earn my Science teaching certification and take a job as a middle-school science teacher. A few years later I earned my Master’s degree in TESOL and became certified to teach Spanish. When I noticed that many students seem to learn to read better while learning Science, more training linking literacy and science seemed like a logical step! The Linking Science & Literacy for All Learners program has more than fulfilled my expectations in this regard. Training is on-point and presented in a variety of ways from a variety of instructors. A premium for me has been guiding and learning from a new group of teaching professionals. As award-winning, science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein said, “When one teaches, two learn.” May we all have the chance to be life-long learners!
JEANNIE SNELLER, South Callaway School District
I began college in 2001 as a Middle School English Education major. At the time, there were very few job openings for English teachers so at the end of my sophomore year I switched to my other favorite subject, Biology. While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I worked as a classroom aide at a middle school in Columbia. I graduated with a Biology degree and certification in Middle School Science. However, my love of Language Arts endures. After earning a certification in Science, I also became certified in Mathematics and Languages Arts.
My first science teaching job was in Sturgeon Public Schools teaching sixth through eighth grade science and Reading and Science during their summer school sessions each year. In 2015 I accepted a job at South Callaway Middle School teaching middle school science, mathematics, and an intervention class for language arts.
When the curriculum director at my school shared an application for the Linking Science & Literacy for All Learners program, I knew that this was something in which I wanted to participate. This program encompasses all that I’m passionate about in education. It’s an opportunity to knit together what I have learned over the years about science, language arts, and special education in order to create something that will help all students be successful in science and literacy. In the first year of the program I learned how to create scaffolded text sets and implement them in the classroom. We created text sets for a unit called Flight of the Bumblebee. Being able to work with the team and other educators from around the state has been an amazing experience. I learned so much from everyone involved. The result of that collaboration was a text set rich in science and language arts standards created with all learners in mind. My students absolutely loved this style of teaching. Their ability to read and write in the content area increased tremendously and surpassed my own expectations.
This year I have taken on the role of a mentor. When I was given an opportunity to return this year as a Peer Teacher, I didn’t hesitate. I work with our new teachers to help them create text sets for their own classrooms and to offer advice. Even though my job is to mentor, I have learned a lot from this group of outstanding teachers! I’ve been able to take the ideas they have shared and implement them into my own classroom. This program is a wonderful opportunity to not only learn and grow in my abilities as a teacher, but to create friendships with other educators from around the state that will last well beyond my time with this program.