Testimonials from Academy Graduates

Emily Jones

Emily JonesEmily graduated in 1996 with a B.S. in Russian and Systems Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.  She was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and stationed in Alaska for three years where she studied at night to obtain a M.S. in Health Services Management from the University of LaVerne, CA which had a satellite campus on base. 

She finished a five-year Army commitment at Fort Hood, Texas, in June 2001 and stayed home with her kids until she joined UTeach. She obtained a post-baccalaureate grade 8–12 math certification from UTeach in May 2011. She taught for two years at St. Dominic Savio in Austin, Texas, and is now home with her third child, born in 2012. She looks forward to returning to the classroom when her youngest child is of school age.

Why did you complete the UTeach Academy of Innovative Teaching and Learning?

When I was teaching, I didn't have many professional development hours as it was at a private school, and by the time I realized how far behind I was in completing 150 hours in five years, I only had two years left.  I realized there was a dearth of quality professional development instruction online and was pleased to learn about UTeach.

What was your favorite course and why?

Learning Through Inquiry in a Flipped Classroom was my favorite course because, intuitively, this practice sounds virtually impossible. How can you deliver content at home before class to students while maintaining an inquiry-based approach? The course forced me out of my comfort zone to produce video content for my flipped classroom, and I had to be creative in order to maintain inquiry in this environment.  It can be done!

Laura Robinette Minor

Laura graduated from UTeach in 2012 and is currently the 8th-grade science teacher at Trinity Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. She serves on the school's curriculum development team, coordinates the science fair competition, and is a mentor for new teachers. In her spare time she has been a contributing writer for three science textbooks.

Laura MinorWhy did you complete the UTeach Academy of Innovative Teaching and Learning?

I wanted to complete the academy because I believe as professionals we should always be learning and growing, honing our craft. One of the reasons many of us become teachers is because we love learning, and I was looking for an avenue that could fulfill my desire to continue learning. It can be easy to start slipping into complacency, or falling into not-best practices, so I particularly appreciated that the courses are of the UTeach way of thinking.

What was your favorite course and why?

I thought all of the courses sounded so good, and actually would still like to take more. My school just purchased iPads, so I appreciated the course on mobile learning (Engaging Students with Mobile Technology). One of the best parts was how the mobile learning course ended up complimenting the formative assessment course (Formative Assessment: A Key to Student Success). I hope more people choose to take advantage of this professional development opportunity. I think participants can get out of the courses what they choose to put in!