An interview with Ryan Pixler…
1. What do you do at The Cooper School and how long have you been here?
This is my second year at The Cooper School and I am the Kindergarten Assistant Teacher!
2. What do you value about being at TCS?
One of the many things I appreciate about being here at The Cooper School is the focus to educate and grow each child as a whole. The Cooper School especially values the Social-Emotional development of each child, and I think that is vital in preparing students to move forward and be the change we hope to see in our world.
3. What’s something you’ve learned teaching here?
Working at The Cooper School has taught me the importance of my own lifelong learning. Working here offers me the opportunity to always feel challenged and to continue growing. I learn something new every day.
4. Which educator has influenced you the most in your life, and how?
My Fifth Grade teacher, Deborah Kinard, was incredibly influential in the view I formed of myself and of my education. She was immensely passionate and incorporated her own painting into a lot of her teaching. Though I still cannot draw to save my life, it was amazing to witness someone infusing their love of art into education. She also encouraged us to pursue our own passions in our education by giving us an opportunity to present book reports in our own choice of mediums. I’ll never forget performing an entire horse race, including dramatically falling at high speeds and being trampled by other horses, in the form of a monologue. I couldn’t tell you today what book the report was even about, but I will always remember climbing back up on my feet for my bow and Ms. Kinard encouraging me to audition for the local arts school (that I eventually attended). I look back and laugh at how ridiculous my “performance” was, but that was the moment I realized I could be an actor.
5. What do you look forward to in your role here (lesson, section, topic, etc.) each year?
I am so excited for our Kindergarten Biome Fashion Show! Seeing it put together last year, I wanted so badly to be involved. I love the creative thinking and adorable looks that Kindergarteners are able to put together for each biome. Also, I’m an actor, so I just love a good costume.
6. What is an example of your approach to dynamically balancing creative intelligence, self and social intelligence and academic mastery in your work at TCS?
One of my proudest moments as a teacher was getting to watch Kindergarteners take on their Pumpkin Presentation this October. Our class proudly stood and delivered all of the exciting things they’d learned about pumpkins, but I was most excited to see how well they had mastered working as a team and remembering that each of their classmates was relying on them to do their part. Another highlight for me was the Change Makers unit I got to be a part of in our Third Grade classroom last year. It was exciting to lead students while they conducted their own research on trailblazers in our world’s history. Their presentation of persuasive speeches combined with their desire to create their own good in the world still gives me goosebumps.
7. If you could live in a book, what book would it be?
I would definitely want to live in Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, where everything “is what it isn’t and isn’t what it is”. This question made me realize how many other favorite books of mine are set in dystopian worlds or places I would NEVER be willing to live in.
8. What’s something this community might not know about you?I am not sure everyone in this community knows about the travel bug I have been bitten by. As I’ve gotten older, it has become growingly more important to me to see and experience other places in the world. I finally got the chance to travel to Paris in 2017. This past summer, my husband and I took a month long road trip to the West Coast and back, passing through 23 states and even spent some time in Toronto. I am already getting excited and mentally packing for our trip to Tokyo this summer!