Seattle Pacific University, Masters in Teaching Math and Science, 2015
Western Washington University, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, 2014
Who is Mr. Germanis?
I have claimed Washington State as my home for my entire life. I grew up in Federal Way where I was heavily engaged in my community. After graduating high school, I moved to Bellingham to earn a BS in Mathematics at Western Washington University. Most weekends, you could find me at a local coffee shop sipping on coffee studying for an upcoming exam. Immediately following my undergraduate education, I attended Seattle Pacific University to earn a Master’s in Teaching Math and Science. In my free time, I like to explore the local shops. I consider myself a foodie, so I enjoy finding niche places that have amazing food. In the summer, I like to find hiking trails and winter time if perfect for skiing. My interests range greatly; I always seek to understand how things work. As a young child, I was fascinated by the mystery and illusion of magic tricks. I wanted to know how they worked since they amazed me so much. My amazement in magic tricks soon lead to my drive to understand how mathematics worked. Near the end of my college experience, as my math skills improved, I was challenged (and yet again fascinated) by how computer programming works as they relate to mathematics.
Interest and Experience in Education
Algebra was one of my favorite subjects in high school, I enjoy learning new tricks for math and problem solving. My interest in mathematics has fluctuated many times as I struggled to understand challenging topics, but there was always a drive to learn more. One skills that I’ve noticed in myself is the ability to simplify challenging ideas into “bite size” pieces of information and working with others to make logical connectives. My interest in teaching is derived from these two passions, helping other and a drive to problem solve.
Throughout my college career, I’ve sought out opportunities to work with students to connect these passions, particularly with high school and middle school students. I worked as a summer day camp counselor planning morning workshop sessions. Interests for students ranged from sports to chemistry to theater. Later that year, I worked in a middle school math class in Sedro-Wolley, WA. I noticed students craving great instructions and watched as my skills help improve theirs. In my pursuit of education, I found an opportunity to work with teachers at my former high school to teach a preparation class for students who were preparing for the AP Calculus AB course. My volunteer experience confirmed my decision to work with high school students teaching math, I am excited to continue my journey of becoming a professional educator.
Philosophy of Teaching in Public Education
Writing in Mathematics
Writing for understanding is a researched based skill that helps students reflect on their learning. Documenting and clarifying understanding in writing helps students form ideas. I firmly believe that to understand a skill, one must be able to communicate that idea to another person. Journal reflections are a daily part of a mathematics classroom because student think about their understanding and explain their skills in writing to an audience (themselves and the teacher). Reflection is also highly meta-cognitive, students must self-assess their knowledge and write their understanding. I have extended upon this idea in a technology rich classroom by using Google Docs for reflection journals.
Grading for Understanding
Understanding is a word used loosely in education and with the induction of standards based grading has become more firm over the years. I believe students must be able to demonstrate their understanding, for most on paper, but others through verbal communication or other visual means. Understanding means students are clear in their ideas. I use the following rubric to help guide my assessment of students understanding during performance tasks.
In my teaching practices, I work to create inquiry based activities that challenge student’s misconceptions and UNCOVER information for students. Challenging students by their misconceptions and then providing rich learning activities which help them explore the idea further on a deeper level of learning helps make concrete connections. This type of instruction is challenging and requires persistence by both teacher and student, however in my research I have found that it is the most effective way to create long term learning.
Accomplishments and Achievements
Mr. Germanis has earned a prestigious opportunity to work with the Knowles Teacher Initiative, 2015 Cohort. Membership in this organization provides professional development for five years and helps new teachers become leaders within their teaching community. Click here to learn more about this organization.
Articles and Stories
2008 Journal of the Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Vol. 35, No.2 “A students voice. Are you ready for us?“