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Meet the Teacher | Cheryl Allison, Region 8, Education Service Center

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Cheryl Allison
Secondary Science Consultant
Region 8, Education Service Center

Q: How long have you been in education?
A: I have been in education for 33 years. I taught 8th grade science from 1986-2012. In 2012, I began my career as a Secondary Science Specialist at Region 8 Education Service Center located in Pittsburg, Texas. My current position is to provide teacher support and professional development opportunities for science teachers in grades 6-12. Region 8 ESC serves 46 mostly rural school districts in Northeast Texas.

Q: Why did you enter the teaching profession?
A: In 1980, I began my freshman year at San Jacinto Junior College in Houston, Texas. I enrolled in a few Biology courses with Dr. Timothy Roye. At the time, pursuing a degree in education had not crossed my mind. Being a student in Dr. Roye’s Biology classes was truly a blessing. Several students and I formed a study group. During our study group meetings, the other students would mention that I would make a great teacher because of the way I led and organized our study sessions and my passion for helping others learn. In 1981, I transferred to Texas A&M University to continue my pursuit of a degree in Biology. While at Texas A&M University, I continued to form study groups and was frequently told that I would make a great teacher because of how passionate I was about others learning. If someone was struggling with a concept, I explained it another way, created flash cards, drew large diagrams, etc… At the end of my junior year, I spoke with my faculty advisor about becoming a science teacher. Dr. Turner advised me that becoming a teacher would delay my graduation by one year. With the help of Dr. Turner, I transferred to the College of Education with a major in Biology and minor in Earth Science. My senior year was filled with additional science classes, as well as classes in classroom management, human growth and development, and other education related courses. The following year I completed my student teaching at A&M Consolidated Junior High in College Station, TX. Dr. Turner told me that I had the passion to be a great teacher and to go out and change lives one student at a time.

Q: What motivates you to teach?
A: I am passionate about helping others learn new things or helping students develop a deeper understanding about things they already know something about. If students are struggling, try a different method. If students are reluctant, find a way to link what they are learning to something that they are passionate about. The key to educating others is RELATIONSHIPS. Teachers must build relationships with their students. John C. Maxwell, American author and leadership expert, states, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Sean McComb, in Education Week Teacher, discussed a poll taken a few years ago that asked Americans to describe the best teacher they ever had. The most commonly cited word: CARE. I wanted and still want to be the teacher that cares.

Q: Can you discuss the value of hands-on learning?
A: Hands-on learning is important in the classroom because it allows students to engage in kinesthetic learning, where the students carry out a physical task instead of engaging in lecture. By physically engaging in the activity, students are able to gain a better understanding of the material. It allows students to experiment, learn from trial and error, and learn from their mistakes. Hands-on instruction dramatically increases retention rates. Educational studies show students who practice in hands-on environments are capable of retaining three times more information than a child who merely learns through lecturing. Hands-on learning also assists with the development of critical thinking skills and allows students to think at a deeper level. My advice is to put the books away and get out the hands-on activities.

Q: How have you been involved in the TMRA teacher workshops.
A: I attended Coal Camp at North American Coal-Sabine Mine. I attended Uranium Camp at Mestena Mine in the Corpus Christi area. While at Region 8 ESC, I have hosted a professional development opportunity “It’s NOT Dirt Alright! Soil Workshop” with Dr. Sam Feagley and Francye Hutchins. This past summer, I hosted a coal camp for Region 8 ESC teachers at North American Coal - Sabine Mine.

Q: Would you recommend the TMRA teacher workshops to other teachers?
A: I would recommend the TMRA teacher workshops to other teachers because these workshops not only improve teacher content knowledge through field experiences with experts in the field, but the workshops also provide teachers with inexpensive, easy to replicate, hands-on activities to meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) statements. TMRA workshops also provide teachers with CPE credits, GT update credits, and TEEAC credits toward a TEEAC Certificate of Recognition.


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