Tim Dohrer Conveys Ideas about Teaching in Educational Leadership

Tim Dohrer Conveys Ideas about Teaching in Educational Leadership

Tim Dohrer

Educational Leadership, the magazine of the professional organization ASCD, recently published two pieces of writing about teaching by Tim Dohrer, director of the Master of Science in Education program (MSEd). ASCD, an organization dedicated to teaching, learning and leading, was formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Dohrer explains the source of his inspiration to teach in an autobiographical article in the June issue of Educational Leadership. In response to ASCD’s request to “Tell Me About … The Teacher That Made the Difference,” Dohrer wrote about his high school English and journalism teacher, LaVone Holt.

Dohrer reflects on the guidance Holt provided him over his high school years and how she recognized the writer in him. Then when Dohrer visited Holt’s AP class during his college break, she announced that Dohrer would teach her class about Heart of Darkness.

“I was stunned, but I stumbled through a quick overview of the themes, drew a rough map on the chalkboard, and answered questions from the students. At the end of the period, Mrs. Holt assigned an essay based on my lesson. As I left the room, I knew that I was born to be a teacher,” writes Dohrer. He goes on to describe Holt, her teaching style and her influence on him in more detail. Read the entire essay on the MSEd website.

In the October issue of Educational Leadership, Dohrer recommends the teaching practice of developing student-created portfolios. In response to ASCD’s request to “Tell Me About … A Practice That Works in Your Classroom,” Dohrer describes the poetry portfolios his students created.

“In all my years teaching poetry in high school, the one practice that students remembered years later was using a portfolio approach that put them in control of their learning,” writes Dohrer.

The portfolio approach began with brainstorming goals. Then Dohrer and his students collected poems, which they read and analyzed as they discussed writing poetry. The students assembled their artifacts into a portfolio and added a reflection on what they had learned. They received extra credit for writing an original poem.

Now a faculty member at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Dohrer is the former principal of New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, Illinois. In a career spanning more than 20 years, Dohrer taught middle school, high school and college students in varied settings and served as a long-term New Trier administrator and teacher.

Dohrer first became an instructor in the Master of Science in Education program in 2004 while he was teaching English at the Northfield campus of New Trier High School. Afterward, Dohrer worked in the areas of curriculum and instruction as well as research and academic services at New Trier. He became director of the MSEd program in 2013. 

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 9/30/14