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Ms. Valerie Casey

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Ms. Valerie Casey
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Loyola Academy
Hometown:
Chicago, IL
Class Information:
Room Number: 121
Students per Class: 90
Class Description:
I teach 4 high school chemistry classes.
Position:
Teacher
My Philosophy:
Teachers are responsible for supporting and inspiring the future minds of America. Although this task may seem daunting at first, I have always had an inclination towards teaching. Personal experience has helped nurture my teaching skills. I believe teaching benefits both students and educators; students gain knowledge in a particular area while a teacher continually learns new methods from students and fellow teachers. The most rewarding outcome of teaching is the ability to positively impact a young adult’s life. I firmly believe that every child is entitled to an education where the teachers truly care about their students and want the best for their students. Educating a child encompasses so much more than providing factual information. A teacher must be a role model for the students, and be available to give advice, provide support, and help the student on his/her life’s journey. I would like to help a student through whatever his/her life presents and set aside time to discuss concerns and encourage my students to strive for excellence. When teaching, drawing upon everyday applications is a necessity. When students see how useful a subject is to their every day lives, they gain a greater appreciation for it. This is something that I would like to bring to my future classes-- I always want my students to understand the “big picture” of the subject material. In order to teach a chemistry class to high school students with varying levels of interest, it is important to begin the school year by identifying how the students can apply chemistry to their every day lives. Once students identify chemical applications within their lives, we can build upon their knowledge and supplement it with chemistry theory. In addition, to capture the students’ attention, it would be useful to have demonstrations at the beginning of the class periods when applicable. Chemistry is a subject that requires participation in class, as well as in the laboratory. Students cannot be expected to merely memorize definitions, but rather must apply principles to solve complex problems. While quizzes, homework sets, and tests are used to gauge a student’s performance, a successful chemistry student must also have the ability to think logically through an experiment and apply chemical theories. A chemistry class hones a student’s analytical skills, which is why I would require my students to prepare procedures for some of their later laboratory experiments, given only the question and the materials. It would then be beneficial to meet with the lab groups and go over each step in the procedure to 1.) make sure that the students understand the principles and why they are performing an experiment and 2.) to ensure their safety. Allowing students to formulate their own labs helps them logically incorporate the classroom lectures to the laboratory. Teamwork is necessary in the chemistry laboratory, and I think that it would be advantageous for the students to prepare oral presentations as a group. In order to foster teamwork, make use of current technology, and improve oral skills, I would require lab groups to present their laboratory experiment as a Power Point presentation for the class each week so that each lab group presented once each semester. Similarly, in order to guarantee that each member of the group is doing a fair share, it would be valuable to spend time with the group and perhaps have the students rank their peers’ performance in the project. While it is important that the class is carefully planned and structured, room for alteration must exist within the lesson plan. This allows for more time to be spent on items that a large majority of students have difficulty grasping. When students are struggling with the material, it is a teacher’s responsibility to determine what can be done to help the student succeed. Therefore, I believe that it would be important to set aside time each day either before or after school so that students could come for extra help. A teacher needs to be completely involved with his/her class and must make it his/her number one priority. By making the class a central part of my own life, I can convey my enthusiasm to my students for both chemistry and their futures. As mentioned previously, a teacher can become a role model for his/her students. Through my work as an educator, I would like to help every child succeed and motivate them to be the best they can be.
Personal Information:
About Me:
I have taught chemistry for three years at different levels, including Chem. Com, Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and A.P. Chemistry. I love working with high school students, and have moderated Student Council and Anime Club over the past three years. This year, I will be moderating the WYSE club and am excited to have this new responsibility.
College and Degrees:
I graduated from Northwestern University, B.A. in Chemistry with Honors in 2006. I am working on my Masters degree in Education at Dominican University.
Activities:
Swimming, Reading, Using Photoshop
Favorite Books:
Crime and Punishment OrganicChemistry by L.G. Wade Any Agatha Christie book
Favorite Quotes:
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein
Interests:
Chemistry, NU Wildcats, Loyola Ramblers, Sports, Surfing the internet
Employment History:
Loyola Academy (2008- present), chemistry teacher Guerin Prep (2006-2008), chemistry teacher NorthwesternUniversity (2002-2006), research assistant, teaching assistant
Why Do I Teach?:
I want to help prepare students for their futures.
Percent of Students are:
     Average: 80 %
     High-achiever: 10 %
     Special Needs: 10 %
Percent of Students are:
     White/Caucasian : 95 %
     Hispanic: 1 %
     African American: 3 %
     Asian: 1 %
Average number of students in class:: 20 students
Number of students I teach:: 80 students