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Questions That Got Me Thinking

I was recently asked by somebody a series of pre-questions for an upcoming interview and they got me thinking.  It was good to answer these questions.  I hope you enjoy the questions and my answers.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I have been humbled and honored to have been given a platform to speak and write to/for educators all over.  It still amazes me that people want to listen to me speak or read what I write.  I have received awards, been interviewed on major media outlets, been featured here and there…But as I think through your question…. I am most gratified by hearing stories from my students about what they have gone one to be/become.  Good education is about relationships and connections.  I feel like I have connected with my students over these twenty-four years and am proudest of them. 

Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you?

Mrs. Anderson, my Chemistry and AP Chemistry (Sheldon High School–Eugene Oregon).  I was a curious kid and she really inspired me by opening the doors to science.  She saw something in me, the nerdy insecure kid, something and she brought out my best.  In her class I wanted to just learn and learn and learn.  She was also approachable yet she always challenged me to do better.  She invited us into her home as we were preparing for the AP Chemistry exam.  No other teacher had ever done that for me.  Much of who I am today came from my two years with her.  Probably the greatest testament is that I have spent the past 24 yrs as a high school Chemistry teacher.  This is primarily because of her. 

What is the best opportunity for innovation in education today?

I probably am biased on this one, as a flipped class pioneer.  I see the flipped class as a way to really bring some of the great ideas in learning into the classroom.  Too many schools/classes are trying to do a one size fits all education.  The flipped class allows for differentiation and personalization.  It is a new way to look at schools, but not such a big step for educators to make. 

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make a difference in education?

I believe that the most important thing in education is the relationship between the student and the teacher.  Good teaching has always been about relationship.  You make a difference one student and one relationship at a time.  Though some people are looked up to as educational leaders, the real magic happens when students realize that their teacher is in their corner.

What is your greatest hope for the future of education?
I feel we are in a transition period.  We still have vestiges of the old industrial model of education which is being slowly replaced by a dynamic student centered, learner driven education.  I think that the flipped class is a way to help us with this transition.  I am excited about the future of education.  We live in such an amazing time with the explosion of information and the ready access.  Because of this, my ultimate hope is that with this information explosion that ALL students everywhere will have the opportunities to a great education.

2 Responses to Questions That Got Me Thinking

  1. Jesse Swift says:

    I love it!!  Mr Bergman taught me high school chemistry in 1993.  While I can't say I was the top student at the time, I did go on and get my engineering degree and then found my self designing & building titanium bicycles.  A few years later I switched careers and got my teaching certifcation in Secondary Science. More recently, while I was getting my masters in Technology in Education, a professor shared with us a teacher who was creating vidoes of his classroom to have the students learn at home then come to class to work.  I was excited to find out it was Mr. Bergman!  Now I am happily teaching technology to middle school students.  I look forward to jumping back in to Mr Bergman's flipped classroom this summer at the T.I.E. Conference in Colorado! 
    Thank you Mr Bergman for still inspiring me and your continued dedication to education! 
    - Jesse Swift – EHS Class of '94

    • jbergmann says:

      Jesse, I remember you. Congrats on becoming a teacher. We definitely need to get some time to chat at TIE this summer. It sounds like you have been on quite a ride.

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