Program Director and EdCo Member, Amy Nystrand recently ‘’sat down” virtually with EdCo teacher Joel Bezaire. Joel is a 7th grade Pre-Algebra teacher at University School of Nashville. Listening to his experience reminds us creativity is all around us.
Teachers are artists. They craft, create, and critique, constantly reimagining the lessons they’ve taught before to ensure the best product is out there. Over the years their resources build and if you’re lucky they’ll share them with you. At least that’s how we feel at EdCo; we feel lucky. We have a pool of brilliance to dive into on a regular basis.
We are especially lucky to have Joel Bezaire, 7th grade Pre-Algebra teacher. Joel has spent years building his own curriculum. “I had a textbook when I got there, but you evolve, you supplement, and after a bunch of years I realized I had two-thirds of a whole new curriculum here, and I may as well finish it out, so I did,” he tells us.
He’s built it out, not only with his day-to-day lessons, but also with supplementary materials, including a novel study and a set of videos and news articles that show math being used across the world. It’s all intentional. “I really try to integrate kids seeing that what we do day to day in math class does apply, maybe we aren’t doing the exact thing, but learning math, big picture, is absolutely important, and look at all the ways it’s being used.”
Not only has he created it, but he’s categorized it as well. “If you’re into art, go here, if you’re into history, if you’re into social justice and equity, here’s all the ways you can see math being used in that, you’re into sports, here’s analytics.” He’s brought math to life, given pause to the common claim of, “When am I going to use this?” “Those extra things are what I think are the most important,” he says, as he continues to impress us.
We are thankful for Joel, the time he took to carefully create a curriculum that inspires students, and the fact that he’s not only made it accessible to us all, but that he encourages the use of it. Joel Bezaire is one of many teachers that make up EdCo, and we’d be lost without each and every one of them!
The Educators’ Cooperative is a non-profit organization that provides a professional learning community for K-12 teachers. Created for teachers by teachers in 2016, EdCo provides professional development and support for educators to collaborate across sectors, disciplines, and career stages. EdCo aims to revolutionize teacher development and leadership by focusing on the essential agency, autonomy, and common ground all teachers share. EdCo is based in Nashville, Tennessee with a reach far beyond that physical location and potential for replication in communities throughout the nation. When educators collaborate, the future of education is greater than the sum of its parts.
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