I began teaching while studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology as an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz….right after I nearly failed my chemistry and math courses. I thought I had it all figured out after having graduated high school at the top of my class and being a first generation college student. I soon discovered that college and life after K-12 aren’t all worksheets, neat presentation, and bubble tests. I ended up in MSI (group tutoring) where I experienced a new way to learn. A year later, I was tutoring the groups I had relied upon. I was energized by the joy of learning through challenge, and to this day strive to design that joyful challenge for myself and my students. I went on to pursue a Master’s in Education at UCSC where there was intense emphasis on inquiry based learning and social justice – both of which I carry with me into the classroom each day.
Today, I coteach Biofitness (integrated Biology, Health, and Physical Education) with my husband, Tom Wolf, and Environmental Science at Napa’s New Technology High School – the flagship school for the New Tech Network focused on improving student outcomes through Project Based Learning.
I’d like to take as much of the mystique out of what feels to me like an earthy, community-focused teaching practice and share some of my strategies for thriving in the PBL classroom. I’d also like to give myself a structure for reflection so I can improve as a teacher.
Sample Project Article – The SYAR Project: Exploring All Sides of a Heated Local Issue (2016)