Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Life as a C2C Alumna: Or “Excuse me, have you considered ‘Think. Pair. Share.’?”

“… Thank you all for participating in our workshop today. I welcome any feedback you have to make this session better.”

I raise my hand.


How the instructor probably saw me when I raised my hand at the workshop.


“I appreciated the interactive aspects of this workshop, but have you considered using ‘Think. Pair. Share.’ to increase participation?” I ask.

My question is met by a look of confusion.

I don’t mean to sound like a know-it-all. I’m not. This teaching stuff is all pretty new to me. But Classroom to Community has seeped into every aspect of my life. Now, that I’ve entered my “professional life,” I’m sharing some teaching techniques with anyone who will listen. I feel exasperated when an instructor clearly didn’t “plan backward.” I have to hold myself back from shouting “If you can hear me, clap once!” in a meeting room full of talkative grownups. Luckily, I haven’t started handing out gold star stickers to good speakers when I attend a conference (but this takes a lot of self-control).

C2C’s team and TFA’s Ms. Bryson have given me this repertoire of teaching tools, as well as a multitude of concrete skills. Look up state teaching standards, you say? Nothing easier. Design questions using Bloom’s taxonomy? Sure thing. But they’ve also given me something that no text book could provide: a reality check. I’d say that the greatest (and hardest) lesson from C2C came from directly facing barriers in health and education equity. These barriers aren’t just going to disappear. And many of the steps we need to take to address them aren’t easy.

Right now, I’m doing a fellowship at the Environmental Protection Agency. I’m learning about science communications, environmental education, spatial analysis and more. I’m gathering my skills and collecting experiences to help me grow some barrier-breaking strength and expertise. 

Where am I going after this? I’m not sure. But having seen the faces of the kids whose fate is actually decided in large part by a broken system puts a little sense of urgency into putting my skills to good use.

-Gaelle Gourmelon, C2C 2012


  1. Did you really say that? I love it! : )

    It is fascinating to me how a little education on education can change how you interact with the world.

    I dare you to start handing out gold stars. : )

    Miss you, Gaelle!

  2. Haha, yup. I really said it. The workshop instructor took notes while I explained how Think, Pair, Share worked.

    I'll put an order in for some gold star stickers ASAP. Right now, I'm holding back by putting smiley-frowny faces on my speaker agenda based on presentation style. Oh, goodness!

    Miss you too! Thanks for everything!