Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Short Conversation with...Debbie Birchett @debbie_birchett

I recently discovered a website named Teachmeet New Jersey: Fresh Ideas for Education. The site introduces educators to its readers by conducting short interviews. I really like that idea so I asked a few people from my PLN to answer a few questions about education. Enjoy.

Debbie Birchett

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for 13yrs. I received my Bachelors in Special Education in 1997. My first placement was outside of Washington, DC and this placement has impacted my life as a teacher tremendously. I had the greatest mentor and the strongest administration any new teacher could have asked for; my students were diverse, had a variety of disabilities and their needs helped me to build my skill set.

Has your educational philosophy changed since you began teaching?

Absolutely! I believe that if you have been teaching for a number of years and your philosophy hasn’t changed, you are not truly open to being a learner as a teacher. My philosophy was a bit vague; it was based on my innocence and fresh ideas. I believe I’m more realistic now and use my experiences to evolve my philosophy. My fresh ideas will never go away though!

If so, what led to this change? Was it a gradual process or a specific event?

I’d like to say that it has been ever growing and adapting to what I have learned as a teacher and a student. I have had the opportunity to spend my years teaching in three different districts. These experiences have all been very different and each one has modified, not only my ideas, but my teaching style as well. I think the event that had the greatest impact was moving from the Washington, DC area to North Carolina. Not only the cultural differences, but I have had the opportunity to teach in a one-to-one learning environment. Teaching in a 21st century learning environment has greatly impacted my educational philosophy. The district has been adamant that every child has the ability to access a 21st century education; from laptop insurance scholarships to having loaners for students who have damaged equipment. This regard to equity among all students has had a tremendous impact.

Has Twitter played a role in your evolution as a teacher? If so, how?

Twitter has played a tremendous role in my evolution as a teacher. It has allowed me to share with educators I would not have even had the opportunity to share information and strategies with otherwise. Networking with teachers globally allows me to “practice what I teach” with my students in regards to accessing information and sharing the learning that occurs around the world. Twitter allows educators to be 21st century learners and teachers!


  1. Your question about educational philosophy is something I've been toying with for a while. During my masters program we were asked the same question and it's funny reflecting on how I responded then and how I think now. Some things I said, I agree with. Other things I don't agree with at all. I think the "system" is what put certain things into my head. "That's the way it is and always will be." It's important to continually reflect on your beliefs and purpose for teaching/learning. Thanks for sharing and giving me something to think about.

  2. I think that if you ever happen to be educating for any amount of many years as well as your philosophy hasn’t changed
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