Nicole Caldwell

History and Economics Teacher
South Brooklyn Community High School

My Teaching Philosophy

Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter; an African proverb by Chinua Achebe encapsulates one aspect of my teaching philosophy. The lions are my students. I am their historian. Not only am I providing diverse narratives allowing my students the opportunity to gain a fuller historical narrative of American history, but I also challenge them on a daily basis to consciously frame their personal histories. Heavily steeped in the pedagogy of bell hooks, my teaching philosophy aims to inspire classrooms centered in freedom. Knowing all students are capable of learning through proper support and structure, I create safe spaces for intellectual exploration. Creating classrooms with multiple entry points for all learners, speaking and listening strategies are used during instruction to promote academic discourse between students.

Building Block Spotlight: Planning for Success

When students are planning for success they are able to identify key features needed for achievement such as daily attendance, proper time management, and organizational skills. Supporting students while planning for success means meaningful teacher-student interactions, accountability trackers, access to tools such as planners, and classroom calendars explicitly stating deadlines for projects.

What I'm Working on

  • Creating a 21st century skills aligned CDOS curriculum and explicitly teach students planning for success skills to help them complete their CDOS portfolio
  • Teaching my students planning for success skills as a means to empower them and to help them become more organized, focused, thoughtful, deliberate, and reflective in their work.
  • Explicitly teaching my students to set SMART goals and create action plans
  • Celebrating  positive demonstration of targeted skills by giving more positive feedback and shoutouts
  • Develop a student reflection routine and intentionally integrate it into the learning process so the students can consistently reflect on how they have grown in the targeted skills and how they can continue to improve