By Alexis Hopper, Program Coordinator
In celebration and in honor of Teacher Appreciation week, I’d like to take this opportunity to send a very special thank you to each of our Spring Academy instructors.
Academy teachers bring passion and expertise in carrying out IEA’s mission of helping students build the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary to reach their full intellectual and personal potential. Each new Academy session presents a unique opportunity for instructors and their students to grow, but never in the history of IEA has there been a session so remarkable as this spring, when, in the face of a global pandemic, teachers were challenged to adapt nearly every aspect of what they would normally do to inspire, engage and share their love for learning.
We can all think of a teacher who has made a positive impact on who we are and how we learn, work and play. Each of us can remember something a teacher said that inspired us, made us feel smart, successful, or that made us feel that we simply belonged. Or maybe they did something that helped us realize a goal or gave voice to an inner strength we didn’t know that we had and that the world needed.
American writer Alice Wellington Rollins said, “the test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask which he finds it hard to answer.”
Grayson and Anita, thank you for being the perfect example of this sentiment. With grace and mastery your lessons encourage critical thinking in such a way that dialogue and debate become collective discovery. You are always willing and prepared to respond to those yet unanswered questions with nothing less than the same curiosity and desire to understand that you expect from your students.
It’s been said that teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. Rod, Stephanie, and Maria, thank you for sharing your content specialization with our students and encouraging them to experiment in ways that go beyond just imagining how to apply their knowledge to real-world solutions. Your experience in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Pharmaceutical Bioengineering and Mathematics brought special relevance to courses like Biology of Me, Medical Pathology, and World of Science.
Chris, Joan, Rich, and Kathleen. Thank you for your boundless creativity, resourcefulness, die-hard preparation, and ability to pivot and leap to meet students where they are at, all the while planning three steps ahead to launch them further. There could be no better quote that encapsulates the professionalism and intention that you bring to each lesson than, “A great teacher can teach Calculus with a paper clip and literature in an empty field. Technology is a tool, not a destination.”
Lucy, Bradley and, Justin, thank you for offering a space where students can dive into their creative process without fear they’ll find themselves lost in a sea of uncertainty. Your vision and instinct to guide students through their process of invention, whether in writing poems or expressing life through drawing, collage, or painting demonstrated so well that the best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.
Finally, I’d like to thank Amy, Richard, Toby and Summer with these words from Chinese philosopher Confucious, “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.”
You each have an exceptional ability to perceive and respond to those critical moments when a student needs you to pause, reframe and rewind, deconstruct and construct again, theorize and strategize, and empathize and laugh. These consistent and sincere moments of mentorship builds the trust our gifted students need to be confident that the future will always hold something budding and beautiful for them to discover.
Thank you, Academy Spring Teachers, from all of us at IEA!