Golden Apple Fellows at Northwestern Offer Teaching Advice

Golden Apple Fellows at Northwestern Offer Teaching Advice

Golden Apple Fellows 2010

Ten teaching award winners enrolled at Northwestern University this spring gave advice to SESP students of education at the annual reception for Golden Apple fellows. The fellows took classes at Northwestern as a special feature of winning the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010.

This year’s reception hosted by SESP featured the Golden Apple Award winners participating in discussions with Northwestern students. “In order to more directly connect our undergrad and MSEd teacher education students with the fellows, we decided to structure the event as small group discussions around a focused question, ‘Why I Decided to Become a Teacher,’” explains Pat Rodriguez, assistant director of the MSEd program.

Subsequently several Golden Apple Fellows offered their comments and advice about teaching.

Jungsun Moon, who is an English teacher at King College Preparatory High School in Chicago, says, “I suppose I ended up teaching because I've always enjoyed working with kids and I've always loved language, both reading and writing. But as I've been doing this teaching thing now for a few years, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that you need to combine this love with a vast, deep and growing content expertise; a sound, reflective practice that isn't afraid of taking risks; and a strong network of like-minded colleagues. That, and a ridiculous work ethic and the ability to laugh at yourself.”

David Barr, a choral music teacher at Providence St. Mel’s in Chicago, offers this advice for teacher candidates: “Have a passion for your subject matter. Have a good command of your content area.
 Have a love of people and see the good in them. 
Be a dreamer and look for the potential of each day.
 When things don't go well, have faith and hope in tomorrow.
” He says he decided to become a teacher because he wanted to be like the teachers he looked up to as a child. “
I come from a family of those who work to help others,” he says. “I've stayed a teacher because of the joy of seeing my students succeed.
 I've stayed a teacher because I believe I can make a difference.”

Sue Harsa, who is a French teacher at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, provides this advice: “Teachers of today are challenged to be Renaissance men and women because methodology and technology change very quickly. My advice to the teacher candidates is to always maintain the curiosity of a student. Challenge yourself to constantly learn, grow and travel outside your comfort zone.”

Harsa says, “I simply cannot remember a time when I didn't want to be a teacher; it is part of my raison d'être. As a French teacher, I empower my students to speak a new language, view life through a new lens, travel beyond the American borders, and appreciate different cultures. For me, teaching French is much more than a profession; it is a vocation. On a daily basis I may help a struggling student understand, I may witness a shy student who communicates, I may see an angry student laugh or a sad student smile. Teaching is an amazing profession because it weaves knowledge, caring, accountability and passion with hopes of creating a better world."

One of the Golden Apple fellows, Rosalind Kline-Thomas, is a graduate of SESP’s alternative certification program, NU-TEACH, and a current SESP student in the Master of Science in Education program. She is an algebra teacher at Michele Clark Academic Prep High School in Chicago.

The remaining Golden Apple Fellows are as follows: Anthony Curtis, literature teacher at Phoenix Military Academy in Chicago; Jacob Gourley, government and history teacher at Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing; Scott Reed, physics teacher at Niles North High School in Niles; Aaron Reedy, biology and zoology teacher at Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago; Darshan Jain, geometry and precalculus teacher at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire; and Patrice Turk, literature teacher at Chicago Academy High School in Chicago.

Each year after an extensive selection process, the Golden Apple Foundation chooses 10 individuals to honor as outstanding teachers, and award winners participate in a tuition-free sabbatical at Northwestern University. As a group, the award winners participate in a seminar directed by SESP teaching associate Penny Lundquist.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/20/17