Teacher Feature #3: Celebrating Windham County’s Career Education Game Changers

Remember that teacher who first got you thinking about what you might do with your life? That special educator who connected the big ideas, or daily skill-building, to things out in the real world? The P3 Teacher Feature series pays homage to some of the educational partners who exemplify the mission of BDCC’s Pipelines and Pathways Program for high school career education. These heroes link learning with life goals, by connecting students with career options in a variety of ways, from speaker panels to co-op and job shadow opportunities.

Our third Teacher Feature highlights Leland & Gray’s Multiple Pathways Coordinator, Terry Davison-Berger.

How long have you been a teacher? 

I’ve been in this position for 3 years.

How long have you worked at L&G?

8 ½ years.

What did you want to “be” when you grew up?

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to be, but I knew that I wanted to be helping people in some way.

Give us some information on your educational background.

I have a Bachelor’s in Anthropology/Sociology from Johnson State College.

Give us some information on your employment background.

Prior to coming to LGUHS, I spent ten years as a Case Manager and Program Assistant for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windham County.  Before that I briefly served as an Agriculture/Forestry volunteer with the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa.  Additionally, I was an Information & Education Specialist with the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service, a low income advocate/Crisis Fuel Worker with Franklin/Grand Isle and Champlain Valley Offices of Economic Opportunity, and an AmeriCorps member with the Vermont Anti-Hunger Corps. 

What made you decide to become a teacher?

Honestly, I never even considered getting into teaching or education until my boss and principal, Bob Thibault, presented this position to me because he thought it would be a good fit for me.  I’m so glad he took a chance on me because I love my job!

What is your favorite topic to teach within your specialty?

I really enjoy teaching resume writing because it’s such an important skill to have and in the end, the students have a tangible tool they can utilize as they enter the workforce.

What’s the most fun part of your job?

I love spending time with my students and learning from them everyday.

What’s the least fun part of your job?

I struggle with unmotivated students.  It’s fine for students to be unsure about what they want to do, but I get frustrated when they don’t seem to care about their future or aren’t interested in pushing themselves a little bit.

How and why do you integrate career education topics into your curriculum?

My entire curriculum centers around career education topics.

What types of careers are related to your teaching specialty?

All careers!  My job is to help students explore which jobs they want to pursue and the possibilities are endless!

What advice would you give students in order to help them be successful in higher education or at a job after high school? (What do you wish you had known?)

The most consistent thing I tell my students is that it’s just as important to know what you don’t want to do, as it is to know what you think you want to do.  I think it’s crucial for students to have the opportunity to “try on” a career and get direct, first-hand experience with it before making any major decisions about pursuing it after graduation. I think that all students should spend time exploring,  researching, and getting hands-on experience with the careers they are interested in before they commit to a program in college or a particular job.  I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, even long after I graduated from college.  There are so many opportunities now for students to explore their options and I would encourage them to take advantage of those opportunities.

Teacher Feature is a series to celebrate educators who are leaders in career education. It is produced by the Pipelines and Pathways Program (P3) which provides employment oriented career-planning for the region’s high school students. It brings training in 21st Century skills, work-based learning, and personal learning plan (PLP) engagement opportunities to all public high schools in Windham County. Pipelines & Pathways is a Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) Workforce Center of Excellence program based on strategies to increase the size and quality of the workforce developed by Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS). For more information please visit https://brattleborodevelopment.com/ To nominate an outstanding teacher for our series, please reach out to cbetit@brattleborodevelopment.com

Funding for P3 is provided by the McClure Foundation, Vermont Training Program, Vermont Community Foundation, the Windham County Economic Development Program, the Thomas Thompson Trust, the George W. Mergens Foundation, People’s United Bank, Tom Smith & Omega Optical, and the Whitney Blake Company in Bellows Falls.