On September 27th, the History Department hosted a panel featuring six of our PhD alumni who work in teaching and education beyond four-year colleges. Mike Buckley (Convent and Stuart Hall High Schools), Adrianne Francisco (Drew School), Ashley Leyba (BASIS Independent Fremont), Joseph Nejad-Duong (Fremont High), Tim Rose (Berkeley City College), and Rachel Reinhard (UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project) generously took the time to talk to current grad students about their work as educators in institutions public and private across the K-16 span.
In the course of our two-hour discussion, we had the chance to learn about numerous aspects of teaching in these very different contexts, as well as gaining insight into how our alumni navigated the transition from the PhD to their current roles. All of our panelists highlighted the pleasure of working with different ages and kinds of students from those they had worked with during their time at Berkeley. They also emphasized the collegiality of their workplaces and the opportunity to learn from other teachers. In addition, they drew attention to the need for creativity and on-the-fly thinking in their roles in the classroom and spoke about the ways in which they had grown as instructors and as thinkers in the time since finishing their PhDs. Finally, they talked about the quick pace of their work-days and the need for lots of energy in working with students.
For grad students who are potentially interested in teaching in public or private schools or in community colleges in the future, the panelists agreed that gaining experience working with different age groups and in different institutions was critical. Whether by volunteering, taking on a semester of adjunct teaching in a community college, or substitute teaching at a local high school, our panelists conveyed that testing out the waters and building a network of contacts was key. Our panelists also expressed tremendous willingness to talk to current students interested in teaching beyond the 4-year college in the future.