Teaching in Winter

With 350 inches of snow fallen, the Tetons are buried in the February depths of winter. That means here at the Kelly Campus, Graduate Students are buried in the depths of their teaching practica. We have divided into three teams, each in a different location, and each with a different teaching focus. The result is students of all ages and backgrounds who are investigating the ecology of Jackson Hole in meaningful ways.My team teaches the programs at Kelly Campus this semester. It feels great to be home after a semester of Outreach – like we are bringing visitors into our own backyard, using the trails on a frozen Ditch Creek and skiing to Coyote Rock. Our visiting students range from 8th – 12th grade, older than groups we worked with during the fall semester. Coming from the Bighorns, Salt Lake City, Washington DC, and the Wind River Reservation, these schools have given Graduate Students experience with rural, urban, and Native American students.Faculty Aaron Nydam’s team has begun the Journeys School Practicum. Graduate Students spent the last two weeks observing veteran teachers of Journeys School, Teton Science Schools’ independent Pre-K through 12th grade school. Now, they take on the role of lead teachers for four weeks, gaining invaluable experience in classroom instruction. The Journeys School Practicum provides the opportunity to step away from teaching science and instead focus on subjects such as art or mathematics. Two of our Graduate Students are even working with Pre-Kindergarten class, much younger than students that typically visit us in Kelly.Faculty Liz Palchak’s team teaches from our Jackson Campus this semester. They are exploring new teaching sites more easily accessed from the Jackson Campus, such as Granite Canyon, a glacier carved valley penetrating deep into the Tetons. Co-teaching has been a theme for this team, pairing with educators from around the valley. Lesson plans and teaching tips have been shared by all. Their students have also come from disparate locations – the rural Bighorn Mountains and urban Salt Lake City and Pasadena, California. Their final teaching experience will be a group of international high school scholars from Monterey, Mexico.The Graduate Program is designed to provide diverse teaching experiences to our Graduate Students. Grades range from Pre-K to 12. Rural rangelands of Wyoming, urban centers from coast to coast, Native American schools, and international visitors all help our Graduate Students find the ideal student population to succeed in their teaching career after graduation.

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