Panel Discussion with DCPS Teachers

By Kyle Hietala

UELIP Associates had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion with Fellows of the Teachers Central to Leadership team (TCTL). The panelists included Dr. Anthony Marshall, Kamel Igoudjil, Madra Harden, Morgan Hammers, and Rebecca Oppenheim, all of whom are teachers in the District. These teachers were carefully selected for the TCTL because of their diversity in experiences and their interest in working closely with Central Office. They spoke briefly about their projects as Fellows, but spoke most extensively about their experiences as teachers, as many UELIP Associates intend to pursue a career in the classroom.

Dr. Anthony Marshall noted that the joy in teaching came from his ability to “make a difference,” though he advised Associates that sometimes “you’re not able to reach everyone, and you might not always get the respect you deserve.” To go into teaching, Anthony expressed that young people must “love working with kids more than anything else, and that having a passion for working with kids is what gives teachers staying power.” Rebecca and Madra echoed this sentiment, and noted that patience and keeping one’s attitude positive are crucial to succeeding as a young teacher.

Kamel expressed gratitude for the freedom that DCPS allows him in creating his curriculum, something he advised aspiring teachers to consider when they think about the contexts in which they want to teach. Morgan added that collaboration, receiving feedback, and watching other people teach is valuable in improving one’s skills as a teacher, especially in the early years. And all panelists reminded Associates to take plenty of time for themselves, too. On living in Washington DC, Anthony concluded, “I get the best of both worlds; I get to work hard in a challenging, rewarding place, and play hard, too.”

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