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Gwatkin, Phyllis (full)
Certification Officer
Arts & Sciences
Saw Mill

    Phyllis’ biology teaching career began in public school, but ended in private school.  The autonomy in private school teaching allowed her time to reflect upon which concepts were important for students to learn that would eventually impact their lives.  After teaching traditional biology courses and AP, she developed a “Contemporary Issues in Biology” course, taking the opportunity to use cutting-edge technologies and have students discuss them from moral, ethical, and religious perspectives.  As science chair, I re-introduced our “sandwich seminars”:  session where Yale faculty would come in and discuss their research.  During this time, I became a member of the CT Science Teachers Association and chair of its Professional Development committee as well.

    Upon leaving teaching, I realized that I could not leave education.  The Education department provided me with the opportunity to share my ideas about what teaching is and what it requires.  As the certification officer, I suggest prerequisite courses that will enhance an elementary teacher’s knowledge and ensure our secondary candidates take those courses deemed foundational by the department.  As a student teaching supervisor, I visit biology classrooms and marvel at the new technologies that allow teachers to simulate processes and make them more interactive for their students.  As the Coordinator of the 4+1 Pre-Education Program, I meet with our undergraduates to discuss the program, but, more importantly, to learn where their passions lie, why they want to teach, and how I can help them to reach that goal.  For me, education is a way of life.