BTR Selection Day Debrief

So, BTR Selection Day was amazing. Took a bus into Dorchester, a very working class neighborhood in south Boston. Here I am obviously lost and wearing a suit. People were very friendly though, struck up some great conversations.

Checked in at the Burke High School, during a normal school day so wading through a sea of students, and found my pod… Pod 6, HS Science candidates. I was very impressed by the caliber of my podmates… a computer scientist with a minor in math from Harvard… a U Michigan neurobiology major… a rising biomedical researcher… you get the idea. A very humbling meet-and-greet.

The founder/director of BTR greets us, a former math teacher in BPS himself. A bit rambling, but very motivational speech.

Group activities are up first, where we are given a sets of incomplete personal and academic information on a student case study… as a team of teachers it is our job to debate and conclude on what is going on and what our pathway forward should be. All the while the observers are hovering and scribbling notes… no pressure.

Then sample lessons. Pod 6 is invited into the classroom, 11th grade chemistry, urban public high school….  The lessons go well though, and I think mine did very well. I had restructured my Kepler lesson to be more student-inquiry-based and participatory, drawing multiple analogies to similar systems, and designed to guide the students to forming their own conclusions. They got it. And more, they seemed really hooked by the end. It felt so good.

20 minutes for lunch. Brief socializing with potential future colleagues while wolfing down sandwiches.

Two separate interviews, one focused on on personal qualifications related to the application/resume, and the second apparently on philosophy of education and awareness of contemporary issues in American public education.

A content assessment, testing basic knowledge of the subject and a 30-min free response: “Design an experiment to teach the principle of conservation of linear momentum. Identify the equipment, process, data to be collected, analysis procedure, and learning outcomes.”

Finally, a writing assessment, asking us to use information from the pre-reading to write a persuasive essay defending one of several approaches to teaching science. Essays will be evaluated on structure, logic, use of data available, and indicators of strong integrated thinking and leadership potential.

So, a very exhausting but exciting day… overall impression was that it went very well for me, but we’ll see… I’ll hear back in a week, January 20th.

Made sure to sample the local cuisine, particularly what the natives call “cuppachawdah widda beah”. Delicious of course.

Icing on the whole trip: the following day I didn’t have to get to the airport until early evening. I made it to the JFK presidential library and museum… among other inspirational points, the multiple exhortations to service of an ideal, a social good, a higher calling… definitely put a cap on it. Bought three books, and flew home.

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