Teaching teaching to (future) teachers – Joseph Buscemi


Having an opportunity to reflect on my brief time with CTE is a most welcomed development. Not only for those interested in CTE, but for myself, this chance to pause and consider all that has transpired within my introductory entry into the world of CTE has been, quite frankly, remarkable. I’ve only just wrapped up my first term as a GID (Graduate Instructional Developer), though the wealth of experiences makes it feel as though I’ve been here much longer (and I mean that in the best way possible). Firstly, I suppose a bit of preamble is in order before we get ahead of ourselves…

Hi, my name is Joseph Buscemi and when I grow up I want to be a teacher. I didn’t always want to be a teacher (actually, for a while, I wanted to be a firetruck) but somewhere in the twilight of undergrad I came to realize that sharing information and inspiring others was an interest that could facilitate a career. With the benefit of youthful over-exuberance, I poured myself into cultivating my background information (in Cold War history) and improving my communication proficiencies. I received accolades for my conference presentations, tutorials and guest lectures, but it wasn’t until I co-instructed a course for the first time that I knew I had made the right choice to turn away from becoming a firetruck and to become an instructor.

Finally getting a chance to teach a course was a phenomenal experience and the tremendous encouragement I received from my students and co-instructor afterwards only served to push myself harder. My next course of action was to take advantage of UW’s fantastic (and free!) CTE fundamentals program. The plethora of knowledge I gleaned from only 6 workshops and 3 microteaching sessions was truly invaluable. The great facilitators of CTE pushed me even further as I learned to channel all my raw enthusiasm for teaching into incredibly effective teaching methods. After completing the program, I came across a call for facilitators and applied.

Fast-forward a few months and here I am, with a team that is unrivaled when it comes to their dedication to the craft of teaching. I am incredibly thankful to all the amazing individuals I’ve met at CTE who have helped to develop my teaching skills and provided the opportunity to pass these skills on to future teachers, such as myself.  The enthusiasm for teaching is infectious and I admit, after reading some feedback, I was delighted I infected other graduate students in-turn. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I began teaching teaching to teachers, but the expert team at CTE supported me at every step. After my first solo workshop, I was rushed by eager grad students asking for copies of the lecture and further advice. CTE’s programs have an uncanny ability to strike a chord and inspire excellence in teaching skills. Having just wrapped up my first BLOCK week, I was inundated with rewarding experiences and learners who expressed their sincere thanks for the program.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am constantly learning new things from the microteaching instructors as well! I recall a particularly amazing group of four Fine Arts students several weeks ago who provided my most memorable sessions to date. As they say, learning is a life-long journey and from the rawest learner to the most grizzled lecturer, there is so much to take advantage of within the CTE, I encourage you to find out for yourself. *


*I’m not sure who “they” are, but they say it.


Leave a Reply