Student Experience: Q&A with Teacher Candidate Jason Heitler-Klevans
Where are you from?
What is your favorite thing to do in Boston/Cambridge?
I love trying out all of the different restaurants and food experiences in the Boston/Cambridge area. There is so much variety, and so many wonderful places to eat and socialize.
What is your science or math background?
I achieved high honors in my physics major at Oberlin College, and completed a concentration in materials physics. I competed in activities such as Science Olympiad and science fair for years, and continued my love of science and math as a camp counselor at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia for several years.
Why did you choose the WW Academy?
I was interested in getting involved in the world of education and making an impact through teaching, and the WW Academy appealed to me as a space where I could work towards changing the way that we do education while also progressing my own path towards becoming a teacher. I also felt a strong connection with the community at the Academy, and I love being surrounded by passionate and intelligent educators and future educators.
What has been the best part about your time at the WW Academy so far?
I love being able to dig into difficult or complicated ideas and content with my peers and the staff. Not only do I feel that I am gaining a richer understanding of chemistry and physics, but also of what it means to teach effectively and with compassion and understanding for my students. Every day I learn something new from my peers, and I am always excited to bring challenges I am facing to discuss with them.
What has been the most challenging thing and how are you working/have worked to overcome it?
The most challenging part of this program thus far has been figuring out how to process and use all of the ideas and insights I get from my experiences with my peers and at my clinical placement each day. I am still working to figure out ways of prioritizing, organizing, and implementing all of the ideas and suggestions. One way that I have found works for me is to work each idea into an upcoming lesson that I will teach, and taking 10 minutes to reflect on the experience after I finish the lesson.
What do you hope to do after you complete your M.Ed. at the WW Academy?
I hope to continue teaching for a number of years, perhaps for the rest of my career. However, my experiences at the WW Academy have also helped me discover my passion for iterative design, so I can also imagine a future career in education reform and redesign.
Why should others consider the WW Academy program?
I think that the WW Academy is an amazing place for those who are passionate about education, for those willing to explore different ways of teaching and learning, and for those who are open to change and to trying new things. There is no other program or community like the WW Academy, and I recommend this program for those who care deeply about students, love their craft, and don’t mind having their conceptions of education challenged, expanded, and reforged.
How is the program shaping your idea of what it means to be a good teacher?
I think I know now that there is no one correct path to being a “good teacher,” but rather a level of passion, understanding, and experience that enables good teaching. Every person will have good days and bad days, but what separates out a “good” teacher from a “bad” teacher is a continued and renewed sense of care for students and an excitement to learn and grow.