At Peekapak, we celebrate educators. These amazing, passionate, and dedicated individuals bring joy to learning every day. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have a special group of educators supporting our growth – The Peekapals: Our Peekapak Ambassadors! Our Meet the Peekapals series showcases their personal achievements, thoughts on education and SEL, and more.
Peekapal: Byron Gilliland
Byron is a STEM enthusiast and innovator and is always looking for new ways to prepare his students for their futures. He believes that learning should be fun for students and should allow them to master core content standards through their own interests. Byron creates a learning environment where students feel safe to express their ideas and value the ideas of others. Follow him on Twitter here!
PEEKAPAK: Tell us about what you are most proud of accomplishing while working in education?
BYRON GILLILAND: During my time in education, I have increasingly focused on what my students will need in the future. I find ways to integrate engineering and computer science within the curriculum in a motivational way. I feel that even though my classroom is filled with 1st graders, they have a path started that will lead them to success in the future.
P: What do you find most challenging about teaching? Most rewarding?
BG: Most challenging – instituting a transformational change in practice to student interest focused in classrooms. Most rewarding – seeing students take an interest in learning new things because they have choices in how they share their learning with others.
P: In your opinion, what is the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL)?
BG: It is a FOUNDATIONAL skill in the classroom and in life. SEL allows students the opportunity to truly learn and apply content at a higher level of thinking.
P: What do you envision for the future of education and how do you suggest we get there?
BG: The future of education (in my opinion) is allowing students to use their interests to fuel their learning. For us to truly get there as educators and as a society, we must first see the value of this type of learning and realize that the world is constantly changing and our practices should adapt.
Are you an elementary educator or leader interested in becoming a Peekapak Ambassador? If so, please read and fill out this form.