David St. Germain has recently joined CSJ as an assistant professor of education. David has taught at CSJ as a part-time faculty member for the past five years. He is also principal of the elementary school in Whitehall, NY.
We sat down with David recently for a Q and A session. Here’s what he had to say.
Q. What courses do you like to teach most?
A. It’s hard to say. I’ve enjoyed teaching all of them. I find a great deal of satisfaction teaching the ed. research course, because it’s something people go into thinking they will never use again, and then showing them how powerful it can be, and that they can use it to solve their problems in the classroom. I had a terrible experience when I took ed. research. I vowed if I ever teach this course, I will make it meaningful, and I think I do that.
Q. What do you hope to teach in the future?
A. There’s definitely a need to help teachers analyze student test results. The data driven instruction piece can’t be over-rated. The accountability piece from No Child Left Behind and the new teacher evaluation piece coming down from the Agency of Educational (state level) put that in sharp focus. It’s easy to focus on one group but it’s hard to teach to all levels. You have to be on your toes and know what the needs are of all students.
Having taught at the college level for the past six years, I’ve already been able to teach a lot of the courses I’ve wanted to teach.
(David has taught courses at CSJ including, Public School Law, Introduction to Administration, Effective Classroom Management at the Secondary Level, Public School Finance, and Educational Research.)
Q. What do you feel your strengths are as a college professor?
A. I’m still practicing as a school administrator, so I’m still involved in what’s going on in schools. I can take the latest issues from the world of public education to the classroom and talk to students about them. Also, I have a love of learning. I had some excellent teachers growing up. I’m glad to be in a position where I can help the next generation of teachers.
Q. What do you hope to contribute to the education division?
A. Being able to help the next generation enter the classroom, with the needs so diverse, helping students become 21st century educators. We are faced with unprecedented changes. The types of changes and the number of changes educators are being asked to make are like nothing we have ever seen in this country. At the college level, we need to make sure our graduates are ready and can adapt to what’s coming. That rate of change is not going to slow down.
Q. What is driving those changes in education?
A. The realization that the United States is losing its position as a super power. Other countries are producing goods and providing services at a level we are not at. As a result, the need for our children to be able to compete for jobs in a globalized marketplace is tantamount to ensuring this nation maintains a strong economy. Moreover, Legislation has highlighted the need for inclusion of all levels and getting students comfortable with using technology to further their own learning. In some areas the needs are there, but the money is not. Just sitting around waiting for someone to organize professional development is not good for the kids. Therefore, teachers need to be able to take control of their own learning in order to help their students.
Q. What do you think makes the classroom experience at CSJ unique?
A. Having taught at other universities, the size is certainly an advantage. Students can’t hide in the classroom. They’ve got to participate. They have such an easy access to all of the professors. You are on a first name basis with the instructors and instructors are able to provide individualized support.
Q. What makes you most excited about teaching at CSJ?
A. Creativity, taking concepts and facts and being able to present it in a way others can connect with. That’s the basic act of teaching and I’ve never lost that enjoyment of it.
Q. What ideas do you hope to incorporate into the education division?
A. I think organizing the expectations so that when a student graduates they have a great understanding of what it means to be a good teacher. The soon to be adopted INTASC standards are more encompassing of the educational experience than the former expectations. Also, I certainly look forward to doing more leadership courses for teachers aspiring to become administrators.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working on campus?
A. I’m a father of two and enjoy spending time with my family. Riding my bike, and entering in races, 60-100 miles. Cooking and entertaining family and friends.
Q. What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career in teaching?
A. It truly is chance to change a person’s life. A good teacher can turn around a troubled kid. So to be in that position, you have to be ready to work hard and help those in need, and the first step is to work hard to learn all you can before you enter the classroom.