My fellowship has changed the way I interact with people in the community. I have a new perspective on how to grow as an educator. In my first few years it was beg, borrow, and steal some lessons to figure out how other people do it. But through the fellowship and seeing how other people approach their classroom, I have more the mindset now that there are multiple viable ways to lead a classroom. Some people have styles that are completely opposite of mine and they do cool things with that style. Some people have a similar teaching style, but use vastly different materials, or a project based approach. This fellowship really opened my perspective on what education is, what it means, and how we know if it is successful. It showed me there are careers outside of teaching that I could enjoy and how to use that interest to show students options they didn’t know they have. The jobs they are moving towards haven’t been created yet. They aren’t listed on career interest sheets. This fellowship gave me ammo for the small conversations with students about their futures and super dope science thingies.
In my fellowship I had the chance to work with a few mentors on different aspects of our project. I had people to look to for the research and engineering side of creation and people to look to for design. Creating a final product that both works and serves a purpose requires both sides of the aisle. I am more inclined to the engineering and constructing side of things. Sitting down and working through the design process as a team seemed arduous at first. I didn’t see the use in it. I had an idea, I knew how to do it, and I wanted to just get to making. The mentors in the program challenged us not to run full steam, but to trust the process. Sometimes you can’t always feel like a winner and you need to tank one or two projects to see results. The mentors gave us a framework, and pushed us to work within that framework to explore our own creativity and building process. There were no direct orders, just suggestions from people who knew more about the process than the product we were creating. Working with these mentors has given me a desire to seek out those who understand how to go about creating, even if they do not work directly in the field of the thing being created.