Suzanne C. Carothers
Professor, Early Childhood and Childhood Education
"It is essential for prospective teachers to have the greatest amount of experience possible inside the actual classroom and in the communities where the children they teach live."
'I've been teaching all my life. Teaching is who I am and what I do,' says Suzanne C. Carothers, who started her career at the age of nine by organizing a summer school in her backyard for children from her neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina. After many years of classroom teaching, Carothers decided to use her extensive experience to help others learn what she loved to do. She earned her Ph.D. in Education from New York University in 1987. In 2001, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Bank Street College of Education for outstanding achievement as a teacher leader in education.
'What is essential to me as an teacher educator is the idea of creating an equal playing ground,' she says. 'I believe in giving all children the environment, the encouragement, and the opportunities they need to reach their full potentials.'
Each semester, Carothers supervises a group of NYU student teachers at The Children's Workshop, an elementary school on the Lower East Side.
'All of our undergraduate and graduate students spend a great deal of time actually working with children in schools. That's a hallmark of our Early Childhood and Childhood Education teacher education programs. I feel it is really essential for prospective teachers to have the greatest amount of experience possible inside an actual classroom environment, as well as in the communities where the children they teach live,' Carothers says.
In her courses and seminars, Carothers leads students on self-reflective journeys, asking them to constantly examine their teaching in 'a mirrored room' to see what is working, what is not working, and what could work differently.
This hands-on approach to teaching is in keeping with Carothers' philosophy of breaking down walls between the academic world and the community.
'To me, teaching is about engagement and interacting with other people and your environment. If you watch young children closely you will see how they learn by doing, and I think that educators of young children should do the same,' Carothers said.