Middlebury Alumni Educator Spotlight: Chelsea Colby ‘17.5

The transition to remote learning brought the crucial role of educators to the foreground. We wanted to take this time to reach out to some Middlebury alumni educators teaching in Vermont and recognize them for all the work they do, including their efforts to stay connected with students during this isolation period.  

Chelsea graduated from Middlebury College in 2017.5 with a major in Environmental Policy and a minor in Education Studies. She currently teaches at Bingham Memorial School (Cornwall Elementary School) and is in her third year of teaching within the Addison Central School District. She teaches all core curricular subjects to a group of 13 second graders.

While at Middlebury Chelsea was deeply involved with the CCE and the larger Middlebury community: as the CCE’s communications intern, as a Privilege & Poverty intern, as an AmeriCorps Pathways mentor, as a Charter House Coalition volunteer, and as a first-year/Feb orientation leader for community engagement trips. She was also involved in many of the CCE’s youth and mentoring programs, supporting ACSD youth as the president of Nutrition Outreach and Mentoring (NOM), as a member of Sister-to-Sister, as a Community Friend, and as a MiddCAM mentor.

Chelsea’s relationship with local schools and youth was further deepened through her education studies. In fact, the Education Department’s strong ties to the local school district was one of Chelsea’s primary motivations for staying in Addison County post-graduation. Throughout her time as a student, she was placed in classrooms where she learn from local teachers and became invested in the the Addison County School District.

Even before graduating, Chelsea was working as a long-term substitute teacher within ACSD. The support provided by both the college and the district were very appealing and made her want to continue to work in Addison County. The partnership between the college and the school district has also afforded her the opportunity to be involved with the first ever Middlebury College Education Studies graduate course For the Love of Learning: Individuals and Societies.

“It has been a beautiful opportunity to engage with other local educators in an academic setting,” she states. The work Addison Central School District is doing with the International Baccalaureate program was another big draw for her as her teaching philosophy is in line with the ideas of teaching thematically and supporting students to become global thinkers. 

She also just loves living in Vermont post-graduation! Being a Vermont resident has also offered her the chance to further explore the area and enjoy the local farms and businesses: “In 2019, I took full advantage of my summer vacation and spent almost 3 weeks hiking the entire length of Long Trail which is by far one of my favorite memories.”

As for the transition to remote learning, it has been challenging. Building and maintaining connections with students has been harder to do via technology, but she has been impressed with the way her district has prioritized students’ food, safety, and social-emotional wellbeing before moving to academics.

She feels fortunate that the district and community have supported all of the families in order to be sure they have access to the Internet and an Internet-capable device. “We are all being flexible and adaptable, finding new ways to connect, engage students, and learn during this time of global crisis,” she states. “The gratitude colleagues, parents, students, and our entire community is sharing has been a bright spot throughout this challenging time.”

Thank you, Chelsea!

Stay tuned for more stories from Middlebury Alumni Educators!

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