Valerie Walker: I’m a Gustie and This is How I Teach Posted on October 27th, 2015 by


walker_valerie_purple_96Valerie Walker

Assistant Professor in Education

What classes do you regularly teach?

Literacy for the K-12 Teacher; Elementary Social Studies Methods; Elementary Language Arts Methods (and a summer gig called “Economics for the Elementary Teacher”)

What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received?

Don’t just assign students work–take responsibility for teaching them to go beyond what they would do on their own.

Tell us about your favorite topic or course to teach.

I’m excited to explore ways to prepare teachers to teach economics to young children with an emphasis on social justice.

Describe a favorite in-class activity or assignment.DSC02778

I’m about to reveal myself as a former elementary school teacher. I love doing stations with larger groups! One of the stations is always a small group discussion with me.

What teaching and learning techniques work best for you?

Since I do teacher preparation, I like to model the use of instructional strategies that can then be modified to K-12 students.

Tell us something that you’ve learned about yourself from teaching.

People appreciate it when you are both honest about your mistakes and are willing to share your successes.

DSC02797Three words that best describe your teaching style.

Engaged, curious, organized.

What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer?

Whatever gets in the way your work, is your work. (I saw this in a horoscope, but Google attributes it to Jason Schinder.)

Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had.

I pride myself in being organized. One Monday morning I grabbed my binder with lesson plans, started teaching, and realized mid-way through the lesson that I was using a plan from the previous year that didn’t make a bit of sense for the day in question. The students hadn’t said anything and I had made the mistake of ignoring my “this doesn’t seem right” feeling as I forged ahead. We all had a good laugh when I came clean.

What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you?DSC02739

I don’t try to teach my own children how to read, although I do read to them for pleasure!

What are you currently reading for pleasure?

Leaving Everything Most Loved, Jacqueline Winspear

Who would you like to fill out this survey next?

Amy Vizenor

The How I Teach series asks Gustavus faculty members to share their thoughts on assignments, course activities, and teaching in general. Most Tuesdays a new Gustavus faculty member will be featured. If you have someone you want to see featured, let us know. Also, we’d love it if you’d answer the questions yourself and send those along with a few pictures to


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