Catapult Learning Educator Spotlight: August 2012

Educator Spotlight

Catapult Learning has long recognized that our teachers, our coaches, and our specialized services professionals are the foundation upon which our company stands. We literally wouldn’t be here without their tireless efforts to help struggling students succeed! We thank you for all that you do each and every day.

In May 2012, we introduced the Catapult Learning Educator Spotlight where we honored some of our most dedicated teachers and education professionals. They are our very own shining stars!

The Catapult Learning Educator Spotlight will now be a monthly feature on our Catapult Corner Blog. The educators that are highlighted are nominated by their Catapult colleagues, in recognition of the positive impact they make with children throughout the country.

We are extremely excited to announce our honorees for August 2012!

  • Rafael Rodriguez- Teacher, Florida
  • Robert Bingham- Teacher, Texas
  • Bisola Neil- Coach, New York

Rafael Rodriguez – Math Teacherrafael-rodriquez2-teacher-august-2012

  • West Palm Beach, Fl
  • University of Puerto Rico, Elementary School Education

Why did you become a teacher?

I always wanted to become a teacher. The main reason for this is that I want to do something to help the community, and give back some of the privileges that I enjoyed. Some of these privileges included a great education, and caring teachers. Teachers who made a difference in their students lives. I saw what a good teacher could do, and that’s what I wanted to do for my career!

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

What I love the most about working with Catapult Learning Program is the way it is designed to encourage students to face their challenges using different approaches, providing them with a caring environment full of new ways to help them reach their goals. I also love the way the program is organized and student centered. It was a pleasure to work with such a wonderful administration and staff so committed to education.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

Teaching Math, using Catapult Learning Program tools was a journey full of small and every day success stories. Every time I had the opportunity to take students aside to help them with a particularly difficult math concept that they were having trouble understanding, and I was able to show them a different way to approach the problem, and they ‘got it’, I felt a great satisfaction.

What have you learned from your students?

ALOT! I think this is an integral part for any educator – to be open to what your students can teach you. I feel every year of incoming students brings a new perspective on a variety of topics and the world in general. The students I teach today are not the same students I taught five years ago – nor am I the same teacher.

Robert Bingham – Algebra Tutoringrobert-bingham-teacher-august-2012

  • Austin TX
  • English/Physical Science

Why did you become a teacher?

When I was going to school as a student I noticed that I had a knack for re-explaining things to my fellow students in a way that better enabled them to understand concepts that they were struggling with in class. Then, as well as now, I continue to truly enjoy using my natural abilities and teaching experience to help others become more successful in reaching their own full potential.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

The two things I love most about teaching for Catapult are the wonderful coworkers I am privileged to work with and actually being able to provide my students with high quality individualized instruction.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

Having a student tell me, “Before tutoring began this year, I’d never passed a math test before.., and now I’m even passing Algebra!”

What have you learned from your students?

Attitudes can change and lives can be turned around.

Bisola Neil – CoachBisola Neil-Coach-August 2012

  • New York City
  • Bank Street College, MS Ed
  • Leadership, Mathematics Education

What is your prior teaching experience?

I started as a NYC Teaching Fellow (Cohort 6) and taught Math and Science in the South Bronx, after leaving that school I taught middle school mathematics in two schools in Central Brooklyn.

Why did you decide to become a coach?

I decided to become a coach because I have a clear vision for what quality and equitable mathematics instruction looks, feels and sounds like and I love working with adults, therefore, becoming a coach seemed like a natural progression. While I was in the classroom, I was also the math department head and new teacher mentor and I was looking for ways to transition out of the classroom and work solely with adults in a leadership capacity. This is when I decided that Bank Street’s Leadership program, which is focused on creating school building and district leaders who are have an intensive focus on mathematics content and mathematics pedagogy would be a perfect fit. Upon graduation, my interest in school leadership waned and my love for mathematics pedagogy increased and coaching has proven to be the perfect middle ground.

Why do you feel coaching is a valuable professional development experience for teachers?

I believe coaching is not only valuable for teachers, it is essential because it provides teachers a safe space to share their concerns, fears and accomplishments, think creatively, work collaboratively, reignite their passions and most importantly, be reflexive about their practice. As a coach I believe it is my primary responsibility to provide teachers with the tools they need to foster professional habits of mind.

What is your most rewarding Catapult Learning coaching success story?

My most rewarding Catapult Learning coaching success story is working in an elementary school in the Bronx where the teacher did not want to teach her 2nd grade class quarters because they just never got it. After a few coaching sessions, we co-planned and co-taught an inquiry based lesson that was not based on the textbook and not only did the students enjoy so did the teacher. She was reinvigorated and decided that quarters will remain a permanent fixture in her class.

John Fergus

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