Meet the Ambassador – Caleigh Heenan
The UBTECH Education Teacher Ambassador Program is comprised of passionate and community-driven educators committed to helping shape the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Ambassadors share our vision of creating a generation of kids who are excited and curious about STEM topics, knowledgeable working with robotics, coding, and artificial intelligence, and are prepared to enter a […]
The UBTECH Education Teacher Ambassador Program is comprised of passionate and community-driven educators committed to helping shape the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Ambassadors share our vision of creating a generation of kids who are excited and curious about STEM topics, knowledgeable working with robotics, coding, and artificial intelligence, and are prepared to enter a workforce increasingly in need of 21st-century skills.
Get to know our ambassadors in the coming weeks as we share their stories of what inspired them to get involved in teaching robotics and STEM.
This week’s profile features Caleigh Heenan, STEM, Library, and ELL Teacher at National Park Elementary School (National Park, NJ).
How did you first become exposed to robotics or STEM?
I’ve always been interested in technology. My first year teaching, my principal recommended I apply for a Math and Science program at a local university. I was accepted, and we learned about Lego Mindstorms and did a lot of school-based pd. I’ve been hooked ever since!
What is your favorite thing about teaching robotics or STEM?
I love seeing the creativity and excitement it sparks in my learners. Many of my students that struggle in the traditional classroom structure excel in my classroom, and it’s great to see the confidence it instills in them.
How do you see robotics and STEM evolving over the next 5, 10, and 20 years?
So many careers that my learners will hold currently don’t even exist! Technology is growing in leaps and bounds every day. I think that STEM and robotics are going to becoming more and more prevalent as the first choice careers for many students. I also see AI and robotics becoming even more prevalent in daily life.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I’ve wanted to be a teacher since Kindergarten. My mother babysat when we were growing up, and I always loved helping the kids learn new things and seeing how excited they were about figuring out the previously unknown.
What do you think has changed the most about teaching since you first started compared to where you are in your teaching career now?
So much! Technology in the classroom when I began teaching was usually two old computers that could be used to type documents. The emphasis was on learning Home Row keys and accessing the internet. Now, it is such a large part of each of my learners’ lives. This has drastically changed the skill level of my learners and has allowed for limitless possibilities of technology and STEM integration, both in and out of the classroom.
What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a result of teaching?
I think the connection with my learners. They’ve taught me so much, and there is nothing better than having former students find me and tell me how much of an impact I had on them.
What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing teaching?
It is going to be the most beautiful, challenging experience. Keep track of the silly, positive moments. They will keep you going in the most difficult ones! Also, embrace change and never be afraid to step outside the box.
Find Caleigh on LinkedIn.
To learn more about our Teacher Ambassador Program, visit the TAP page. Ambassadors work closely with the UBTECH Education team to test and develop curriculum activities using our UKITs. If you’re interested in bringing UKITs to your class or district, we’d love to chat.