From Teacher to PhD Student: 8 Questions With Scott Haselwood
8 QUESTIONS is a new series of interviews with teachers who have effectively transitioned their classroom skills into new and exciting careers in the field of education. We at Teach.com believe that teaching is a rigorous and diverse classroom in and of itself; the skills learned “in the trenches” can translate into an exciting portfolio of professional options. From education tech to consulting, the only “X factor” is where you want to go — our interviews hope to shine a light on the steps it takes to get there.
1. What's your name, location and career path?
Scott Haselwood, Edmond and Stillwater, Oklahoma. Currently a full-time PhD student at Oklahoma State University
2. Where did you earn your teaching certification(s), and where did you go to school?
I earned a bachelor’s degree in history education from University of Central Oklahoma and a master’s degree in collaborative education from Graceland University (this program was centered on NBCT).
3. How long have you been a teacher?
I was a high school teacher for 18-1/2 years, until January of this year when I became a full-time student.
4. What was the most rewarding part of being a classroom teacher? What about classroom teaching did you find most challenging?
Rewarding: Working with the kids — they are so much fun. I had the opportunity to make a positive impact on teenagers’ lives every day!
One of my students asked if she could trade babysitting for calculus tutoring — she turned out to be our babysitter until she graduated from college and moved to another state! One of my students hunted me down at Oklahoma State, just to come by and say hi! There were always students who came around during lunch, just to hang out; they don't do this with people they do not like...
Challenging: Having to be so politically aware. I don’t enjoy politics, and I hate having to watch it so closely. I want to teach without people who are not in a classroom dictating to me what I should do and when I should do it.
"So many teachers are afraid to try new things because they have seen so much come and go; getting those teachers to embrace technology and use it as part of the fabric of their classes is a focus for me."
5. Why did you decide to transition from classroom teaching to your current education track?
I wanted to learn more about educational technology. So many teachers are afraid to try new things because they have seen so much come and go; getting those teachers to embrace technology and use it as part of the fabric of their classes is a focus for me.
[My] interest in ed tech happened after I started investigating the flipped classroom. There was no single piece of software/hardware/app that turned my attention. However, after having the opportunity to go to the ISTE conference in 2013, I was hooked and starting looking for more and more and more and more....That conference was the catalyst that led me to where I am today. I do love Camtasia, Knowmia and SnagIt, and I used them frequently when I was teaching high school, but they were discoveries along the way that poured fire on my desire to learn more.
6. What is the best part of your new path?
The learning — there are so many interesting ideas and things out there! I can't wait to share with other teachers!
7. What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that will enable you to excel in your new profession?
The experience — I still want to be involved with educators, so my experience in the classroom is very important.
It’s what I did for 18 years. I tried things out, made mistakes, changed lessons halfway through...I had to manage my time like all teachers do, and I was still able to move my classroom model to one that was very different from the ones most of my peers were using. I can address the common mistakes and give them real life examples of how ed tech can benefit them. I can share about how much time it will really take to do something. I can share with them the actual impact that these things had in the classroom because I saw what was happening! I totally understand some of the resistance to ed tech: Teachers are scared and worried that the learning is not authentic and will result in lower testing scores — but my students did fine!
8. What advice would you offer a current teacher who is looking to make a career change to outside of the classroom?
Continue to work on and do things that you are passionate about! If you don’t have that passion and enthusiasm for the classroom anymore, that is all right. Passions can change. Find yours and move in that direction.
Scott Haselwood is a PhD student at Oklahoma State University, studying educational technology. He is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, classroom flipper, #EdTech junkie, husband and father, and he is always on the lookout for new and exciting technology that can be used in the classroom.
Scott enjoys sharing what he does with other teachers, so if you’re interested in learning to use the flipclass model, set up a fun YouTube Channel, learn from Twitter, ask questions about Gamification or other #edtech items, tweet Scott at @TeachFromHere, or follow his Teach100 blog at Teaching From Here!
Read more from this series:
Looking to make a career leap of your own? A doctorate of education (EdD) can help bridge the gap. Click to learn more.