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Instructional Leadership Student: Therese Arsenault

Therese Arsenault

Therese Arsenault considers education her second career. Even though while raising her two sons, she volunteered in classrooms discovering her passion for observing and listening to children. For the past 10 years, Arsenault has taught elementary-aged children science. "Teaching offered me a way to make a difference in a child's life and a way to nurture curiosity, thinking, and being the best you could be," she says.

Did you have any reservations about participating in a pilot program?
Yes, I was concerned that the requirements of the pilot program might limit coursework and independent study options. While I am not able to do all that I want to do, the course offerings have expanded my options and understandings. During orientation, many recommended that you move outside of your comfort zone and experience something new - I did this! Eyes opened wide, my understanding of what it means to teach and to learn is under revisions and in the process of refinement.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about teaching?
I think that many do not understand how complex and challenging teaching in the classroom is. Everyday you are working with children or young adults. You are on, forever thinking on your feet, and always striving to find the balance between what the student needs and what the system can offer. Teaching requires thought. Teaching is strategic. Teaching is an investment in our children and our future.

What do you most hope to get out of your year at HGSE?
I came to HGSE to think deeply about the work I do. I am interested in how children build and reason about new ideas, how teachers come to understand what students know, and how teachers can learn and develop expertise from each other. At the end of my year at HGSE, I hope that I have some answers to my questions. More importantly, I hope I carry with me the collegiality, the laughter, and the wisdom that my peers, professors, and colleagues have so graciously shared with me and I will pass these gifts forward.

What is you favorite part of teaching in your subject area?
By far, the most enjoyable part of teaching is observing and listening to my students as they work with materials, question, inquire, and come to understand how things work. I love watching that a-ha moment unfold or hearing a child proclaim, "I am a scientist!"

Any plans for when you return to the classroom next year?
At this point, I see possibilities. Classroom teaching, science coaching, and curriculum development all lie within my reach.


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