Erin Woodby became an educator because she finds joy in helping others learn about the world around them and seeing them grow in their knowledge and understanding. Both of Woodby’s parents are educators – her father was a teacher who worked in administration for CCPS, her mother a diabetes educator – and she said they instilled in her a passion for learning at a very young age.
Woodby, who is in her 17th year of teaching, is currently the instructional designer at Carver College and Career Academy. She has been at Carver for nine years, and prior to that, she spent eight years as an earth science teacher at Clover Hill High School.
This is Woodby’s first year as an instructional designer, and she applied for that position after recalling the words of one of her geology professors who told her the best geologists are those who see and work with the most rocks.
“As an earth science teacher, I had many of my colleagues come to me asking for help with using technology in their classrooms, so I felt that applying for this position was a natural step. Plus, I was looking to challenge myself and continue my own education,” Woodby said. “As an instructional designer, I work with educators helping them to better use technology in their instruction and to also help educators develop lessons, both with and without technology, for content in their curriculum. I am here to support educators.”
Woodby has only taught high school, and she said that is where she feels she is meant to be. Although she’s enjoyed younger students and has worked one-on-one or in small groups with them, Woodby said elementary and middle school educators are rock stars to work with younger students all day.
Woodby said seeing her students become successful adults and use what they know is the greatest gift she can receive as an educator.
“My favorite part of being a teacher is really seeing that a-ha moment’ on a student’s face, [that]light bulb of understanding, and then the interest to ask more questions and dive deeper,” Woodby said. “Also [it’s good] knowing that [the students]and I have built a relationship where they feel comfortable enough with me to ask their questions, but know that I’m going to push them to find their own answer.”
Finding resources, helping teachers, and troubleshooting have been Woodby’s focus due to the pandemic and in preparation for the current school year, she created training for her staff on how to set up Canvas courses to be both easy for them and their students to use. Preparing virtual learning classes has been a challenge for teachers, and Woodby said she wants to do everything she can to make their jobs easier.
Woodby, a recent Teacher of the Year recipient, said she was humbled at being chosen by her colleagues and she learns from them just as much they learn from her. Her goal has always been to pass on knowledge to her students and she said it is important for them to feel heard.
“I try to give respect and listen to my students. It’s important to me that they feel … they are heard. I try to stay positive but be real and honest with my answers to them,” Woodby said. “It’s important to me to be able to reach students on their level of understanding to help them grow. Oh, and [to have]a whole lot of patience.”