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What's Up Magazine

Molly Macek

Jan 09, 2018 03:24PM ● By Caley Breese

Photo by Tony Lewis, Jr.

Notre Dame Preparatory School, Towson

Years Teaching Overall: 13

Years Teaching at Notre Dame Prep:

Currently teaching:
11th and 12th grade AP Environmental Science and Anatomy and Physiology; Chair, Science Department

Proudest teaching moment:
“During my third year of teaching AP Environmental Science, I was fortunate to have a very special student in my class—one with whom many teachers had difficulty connecting. After a few months in the course, the student became inspired to conduct additional research on climate change and other environmental issues. One day, she stopped by my office to show me her ‘invention.’ In her own time, motivated to make a positive change in the world, she had designed a mechanism for combating climate change. Over the course of the year, this student continued to impress me with her passion for the environment and in turn inspired me to be a better teacher. Watching this incredible student discover and pursue her passion has certainly been one of my proudest teaching moments.”

Teaching Philosophy:
“As a high school teacher, it is my responsibility to prepare my students with the skills needed to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving and complex world. The development of these essential 21st century competencies requires a pedagogical model that places the student at the center of learning. The teacher promotes deeper learning and 21st century skill development by implementing inquiry-, problem-, and project-based learning activities that require the application of knowledge to real-world contexts. In these student-centered learning approaches, students take an active role in defining the problem, conducting research, analyzing evidence, and developing viable solutions. In order to be successful citizens in today’s global society, students must also learn to analyze and understand global problems from multiple different perspectives. They must learn to use technology as a tool to enhance their understanding of global issues and their ability to effectively communicate with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Finally, as teachers, we must encourage our students to use their knowledge and skill-sets to develop creative, action-oriented solutions to today’s global problems. In turn, we can better ensure a brighter future for all.”

Toughest challenge facing educators:
“I believe the toughest challenge faced by educators today is navigating the rapidly growing body of education research and effectively translating this research into practice. Whether focusing on 21st century skill development, multicultural education, or technology integration, the challenges inherent to the effective implementation of education reform initiatives are complex and deeply rooted in a school’s unique culture. Therefore, in order to overcome the challenges associated with the adoption of reform-oriented instructional practices, I decided to pursue, and recently completed, my doctorate in education with a specialization in 21st century education. With my doctoral degree, I am now better equipped to prepare my students for future success and, as the chair of the science department, to support the science teachers’ implementation of reform-oriented instruction.” 

"More than anyone in our community, Molly has changed the NDP culture through her work in environmental education. Thanks to her efforts large and small, Notre Dame Prep now has a more knowledgeable community and smaller carbon footprint. Since her arrival at NDP 13 years ago, Molly has proven to be an outstanding teacher. In her environmental education, she effectively teaches and reaches students of every level. Committed to student success, she works closely with students, both in class and one-on-one, to ensure they fully grasp challenging scientific concepts and can advance. Molly’s actions in promoting life-long environmental awareness run the gamut from big picture plans to day-to-day efforts. By setting an example of education and good stewardship, she has influenced our entire community and made us better stewards of our planet.” —Sister Patricia McCarron, Headmistress