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Putting Lessons Into Practice: Zach Zimmermann, TEP'17

By Marin Jorgensen on May 17, 2017 4:49 PM

Zach ZimmermannOf all his experiences this year at HGSE, Zach Zimmermann sees one in particular as making the most lasting impression.

“In the opening chapter of [her book] The Having of Wonderful Ideas, [Professor] Eleanor Duckworth writes that ‘the right question at the right time can move children to peaks in their thinking that result in significant steps forward and real intellectual excitement,’” Zimmermann says. “In my experience taking T440, the course that Eleanor Duckworth designed, I learned deeply what she meant by this. This insight has changed my teaching practice more profoundly.”

After graduation, the Grand Rapids, Michigan native is ready to begin his teaching career as a middle school social studies teacher in his adopted hometown of Boston, putting this lesson — and the others learned in the Teacher Education Program (TEP) — into practice.

“Right from the very first day of our program in the summer of 2016, Zachary Zimmerman distinguished himself as a caring, engaged, fully present member of the cohort,” says Senior Lecturer Katherine Merseth, faculty director of TEP. “He offered suggestions for activities, mentioned articles of interest, and single handedly became the unofficial leader of the GTEP cohort. He is a natural leader with a deep dedication to becoming the best possible teacher he can be. We were extremely fortunate to have him as part of our community and proud of all he has accomplished for improving the learning of all children, all the time, in every classroom.”

Zimmermann will be presented with the Intellectual Contribution Award for TEP at Convocation on May 24. Here, he reflects on his time at HGSE and his life in education.

What was your goal upon entering the Ed School and has it changed? I decided to pursue a degree at the Ed School because I perceived that the program would prepare to become a master teacher in a school in Boston.

Is that goal any different now? My goal has not changed but my understanding of it has. I continue to aspire to become a master teacher but my view of what a master teacher is and how to achieve that aspiration has evolved.

What advice do you have for next year’s students going through your program? It is difficult to remain curious if you are emotionally exhausted. Self-care is critical.

How did you stay inspired throughout the year? Ruthless curiosity.

Read about the other recipients of this year's Intellectual Contribution Award.