Ben Yergler, MAT '16, Awarded Outstanding Beginning Teacher
Ben Yergler, a chemistry teacher at Wheaton North High School, was recognized for an Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award from the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) in April, 2017. Mr. Yergler was nominated by Wheaton College, where he completed his Master of Arts in Teaching in 2016. Ben is one of twelve 2017 recipients of this award across the state of Illinois.
His nomination states "As a beginning teacher, Ben Yergler is a leader and a learner. He is dedicated to developing pedagogical content knowledge that centers his teaching on student learning. Whether he is assigning new labs to better engage students or figuring out ways to improve assessment, Ben leads by learning."
Mr. Yergler was presented this award at Wheaton North High School on April 11, as pictured above, flanked by his principal, Mr. Biscan, and District 200 Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jeff Schuler.
Wheaton College and School Dist. 200 Participate in Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, DC.
Dr. Jon Eckert, Associate Professor of Education, and McKenna Fitzharris, junior Elementary Education major, recently attended an education summit sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in Washington DC, Nov. 3-4, 2016. Meg Bostrom, a 1991 Wheaton Education graduate and current Math Coach at Whittier Elementary in the Wheaton/Warrenville School District, along with Dr. Robert Rammer, Assistant Superintendent of District 200, completed the collaborative group. The team's project was entitled "WheTeach: Learning, Leading, and Improving," which focused on ways to increase the support for new teacher through a strong partnership between the Wheaton College Education Department and Community Unit District 200. The team participated in brain storming sessions, utilized a logic model, and heard lectures and panel discussions from speakers include the U.S. Secretary of Education, John King, the Senior Policy Advisor Ruthanne Buck, and the Undersecretary of Education, Ted Mitchell. Feedback on the project was provided by a representative of CAEP, the accreditation organization for teacher education programs, and by a representative of the American Institute for Research. Wheaton College and District 200 will continue to collaborate in the preparation of strong teacher candidates.
International Student Teaching Impact
by Sonja Davy, '17
All of us who went abroad to student teach in the fall of 2016 would agree that it had a dramatic impact on our lives, in regard to our cultural views, our educational views, personal growth, and our Christian faith.
As many would expect, living in another country for an extended time is bound to alter many of our perspectives. After living and teaching in the Dominican Republic, for example, I can definitely say my cultural sensitivity has grown tremendously. I have a much greater appreciation for other cultures, a better understanding of my own culture, and a greater sensitivity toward other ways of life. Seeing different approaches caused me to realize that "our" way is not the ONLY way, and perhaps not even the best way! Being immersed in another culture for three to four months required us to become more open and accepting of differences, and it exposed us to many other ways of living than we had experienced.
From left to right: Hannah Westergren (Portugal), Krista Schuh (Thailand), Dr. Egeland, Caitlyn Ro (Taiwan), Sonja Davy (Dominican Republic), and Lydia Phoenix (Austria)
In addition to increased cultural awareness, there is an obvious benefit from teaching abroad in terms of educational perspectives and practices. The international school community is quite unique. Even though our student teaching contexts were very different, as we were on three different continents and five different countries, we all agree that teaching at an international school had a positive impact on each of us. For example, each school had teachers from many different walks of life, different educational backgrounds, and different cultural values. Having this wide range of experiences among teachers opened our eyes to new and creative approaches. It is also enriching to realize that continuities exist across diverse contexts for world-class teachers. It is not unusual for teachers from Australia, the United States, Canada, and China to meet together and discuss essential educational concepts in order to best serve the students.
Most importantly, living abroad deepened our faith in multiple ways. Caitlyn Ro, after student teaching in Taiwan, said it this way. "Talking through experiences with people from another culture helped me learn to love God in a new way. I had a new perspective and approach on how to love God. Even though it may have been challenging or lonely at times, I have learned to love God in a new way." Student teaching internationally allowed each of us to rely on God in ways that were new for us.