Katie Lanning


Teaching Philosophy

As a third generation educator, teaching has always been more to me than a profession.  While I am passionate about content, curriculum, and pedagogy, being a teacher is more than the sum of these parts.  It is a way of life and an inextricable part of my identity.

I had an interest in teaching from an early age, but ultimately gravitated towards social studies.  While I love history, I more enjoy the creative challenge of helping students access seemingly ‘remote’ events by linking the past and present through a larger, ‘thematic’ lens.  I enjoy making connections across disciplines, and I take seriously the responsibility of preparing my students for citizenship in a democracy.  Students in my classes have a variety of educational experiences that include debates, seminars, rich texts, multimedia presentations and ‘real-world’ applications.  My lessons are organized and purposeful, but I recognize the importance of balancing structure with flexibility to account for ‘teachable-moments’.

While making connections across content and disciplines, it is equally important to make connections with students.  While I love curriculum design, I’m at my best when I’m in the classroom and interacting with students.  I value the diversity of my students, as well as the variety of instructional settings in which I’ve worked.  One of my strengths as an educator is my focus on classroom culture.  I work hard to foster a sense of community, care and trust within the classroom, thus allowing my students to feel more invested and comfortable taking academic risks.  It is important to me that they see themselves as partners in the educational process.  Also, by getting to know their interests and abilities, I’m further able to engage and challenge them, be instructionally responsive, and foster their individual growth.

Lastly, it is essential for me to make connections with other teachers.  Reflection and continuous learning are central to my own practice, and collegial collaboration is a key part of that process.  I am truly fortunate to participate in the MCC Fellows Program and to work in a district that encourages teacher leadership and recognizes the roles we can play in school improvement.

For information on my work in the Fellows Program, please see my action research report, Learning Targets and the Use of Target Trackers in US History.