Derek Doucet is an educator who strives to be up to date on the best practices so his students can receive a rich educational experience that will follow them for the rest of their lives. First and foremost, Derek is the loving spouse and father of two. Ironically he was never traditionally the “good student” who payed attention to everything in class and received great grades. In fact, many of his former teachers were shocked that he would consider entering the profession based solely on karma. In 2001, in his first round of college his motto was “Teach the skills, and the curriculum will sort itself out”. He was not accepted into any Bachelor of Education program that year, but he was just ahead of his time. Now he teaches French and Outdoor Ed. While a Head of House to 25 boarding students, he is also a Technology Integrator/Teacher Coach and a Facilitator with Cohort21. He also blogs on Cohort21 as well.
GETTING TO KNOW DEREK
What makes you unique as a teacher?
I actively engage students in giving me feedback and make changes according to the feedback.
When and why did you decide to become a teacher?
My biology teacher took us outside during our winter ecology unit. I then realized that learning doesn’t have to be sitting quietly at our desk, which was my light bulb moment.
What about teaching gives you the greatest fulfillment?
I have always enjoyed engaging with young people. The sense of empowerment I see when things just flow and they can take the wheel is amazing.
Please share with us a simple connection where you feel you made a long-lasting, powerful impact on a student.
I worked with 9 students who I met with once a week, where I checked up on them quite often. When there was a bullying issue that was brought up, one student created a persona and shut down the bullying comments all on his own.
PERSONALIZED LEARNING JOURNEY
What is it about the personalized learning pedagogy/process you believe will have the greatest impact on education as we know it today?
The ability to connect learning to their own experience and build skills in a really meaningful way.
As we know from the research behind having a growth mindset, we learn the most in the situations that push us outside our comfort zone. Can you tell us a story of a time that you persevered through a then- challenging situation which now serves as a great life lesson?
After learning about personalized learning, it was hard for me to go back to the classroom and try to shift the paradigm.
SECRETS TO SUCCESS
What one strategy would you suggest teachers in personalized learning environments apply
every day that would result in powerful outcomes?
Spend some time building these skills, and expect sometimes to be awkward and uncomfortable. Find that professional learning community that you can pull and use as a support system.
Imagine you are standing in front of a room full of educators – just like you when you started your personalized learning journey. They too have fears, worries and doubts as they struggle to find their footing. What are one to two key things they should focus on to ensure success?
Don’t try changing everything at once.
Would you please share with our audience your “i am ME.” statements?
i am open. i am a good listener. i am innovative.