1

Steve Gissendanner, Woodbrook Elementary School

Steve Gissendanner, 5th Grade Teacher, Woodbrook Elementary School
 
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Teaching requires countless split second decisions on a daily basis. Making those decisions, then making time at the end of the day to reflect on what worked, is a critical part of teaching.
 
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
Curriculum is often seen as the key to teaching. Much more important is teaching students to be self-motivated, and teaching them the many skills necessary to be independent learners.
 
Where do you see the teaching field in 5 years?
Because education is currently being used as a political football, it is hard to predict where teaching will be in five years. I am hopeful it will again be about the children. If so, I am sure we can find the proper balance between teaching and testing, between the “three R’s” and 21 century learning, between traditional instruction and project-based learning. 
 

What outside experience prepared you best to become a teacher?
I ran a small business for 20 years before entering the education profession. Many of the skills transfer: time management, motivation, sales, active listening, and just plain hard work, to name a few. The same skills also translate to become important student skills for independent learning.