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An Advocate for Teachers: Paul Tritter, L&T'12

Paul TritterContinuing to advocate for teachers and the profession of teaching is Paul Tritter’s main focus as he gets ready to re-enter the workforce after graduating from the Ed School’s Learning and Teaching Program (L&T).

“I will be a forceful defender of the idea that knowledge about teaching comes first and foremost from being a teacher,” Tritter says. “Anyone who thinks otherwise is selling something.”

And he hopes that others entering Learning and Teaching are willing to do the same. “Be ready to be a voice for teachers,” he advises L&T’s incoming class. “We need more of those.”

Tritter plans to go back to classroom teaching, but he also hopes, he says, to facilitate “collaborative inquiry” with his colleagues.

“Paul Tritter is a thoughtful, reflective practitioner who has mixed the seasoning of his several years of classroom teaching experience with the curious and open-minded nature found in the best students,” says Senior Lecturer Kitty Boles. “He is a serious intellectual who combines enthusiasm and thoughtfulness with deep insight into educational issues. Paul is a student, a scholar, and a practitioner. His peers admire his belief in the students he has taught in the past and the belief he has in the students he will teach in the future…. Paul doesn't accept many ideas at face value without asking many questions, and so brings other students along on his quest for broader thinking.”

Upon learning that he had been honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for L&T, Tritter answered some questions about his time at the Ed School and beyond.

What was your goal upon entering the Ed School?
I decided to come to HGSE to learn about teacher learning. I believed, and believe even more strongly now (with a little more nuance, knowledge, and skill behind my believing), that the best way to sustainably impact student learning is to engage teachers in supportive collaborative investigation and improvement of their practice. Teaching and learning is about way more than just telling people what you know and what to do. That applies to teachers and other professionals just as much as it does to children.

Is that goal any different now? I am more committed to it than I was when I got here. I have learned just how much the current trends in education reform devalue the professionalism of teaching and the potential of teachers to impact students’ lives.

What is something that you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career in education? I learned that the only thing that needs to be brought to scale is the idea that the people who work and learn in schools can learn to solve their own problems.

Is there any professor who significantly shaped your experience at the Ed School? I had Vicki Jacobs for Advancing the Learning and Teaching of English, and she supervised my work as an advisor in the Teacher Education Program. She taught me the importance of always beginning by identifying my purposes, of continuously asking and honing questions, and of making metacognition a critical component of learning at all stages.

How did you stay inspired throughout the year? My classmates Zac Chase, Heidi Fessenden, Tom Neville,  Andrea Palmer, Rosie Allen Sarah Sprague, and the gang. They presented a neverending supply of thought-provoking conversation and seemingly unconditional support.

If you could transport one person/place/thing from HGSE to your next
destination, what would it be?
A personal coach created by a mind-meld between Tina Blythe and Bob Kegan.

For the full list of recipients, visit


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