Masaki Bolte in his classroom
Image provided by Masaki Bolte

After graduating from the College of Education in May 2019 with a BSEd in secondary education: social studies education, Masaki Bolte is already making an impact as a social studies teacher in Philadelphia. 

Bolte began his journey in Fall 2019 as a full-time educator at Hill Freedom World Academy, a middle and high school in Northwest Philadelphia, teaching three different social studies classes. He spends numerous hours each week planning content, creating learning support materials and teaching. Facilitating a respectful collaborative space is a priority for Bolte and is a huge component of his teaching philosophy. He believes that each student has the ability to learn from not only the teacher but also one another. 

A highlight of teaching for Bolte is working with students every day.

After the first month or so, you develop a feel for each student's demeanor and attitude and can tell if they are having a good or bad day. Since I work with seniors, it is amazing to see where they are at now and think back to when I was in high school not too long ago. I have a great bond with this group because I can relate to their perspectives and attitudes toward life. I learn something new from my students every day and take what I learn with me so I can become a better educator and person than I was the day before.

His favorite moment at the Hill Freedom World Academy so far has been being able to be a part of his senior students' final year at school. He especially enjoyed toasting his students with sparkling juice during a senior student assembly at the beginning of the year. 

"This moment was special because it really set the tone for the rest of the year and gave the seniors a moment to reflect on how far they have come."

While the transition from College of Education student to full-time educator took time getting used to, Bolte claims that the transition was not as difficult as expected. 

"My professors did their best in relaying the responsibilities of being a teacher and my experience student teaching taught me enough about the craft to feel confident coming into the profession."

Bolte specifically credits Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning Tim Patterson for being a great educational role model. 

"[Professor Patterson is] the type of educator you wish you could take into your first year as a fellow teacher at your school for continued guidance and expertise."

As a full-time social studies teacher, Bolte advises new educators and student teachers to embrace trial and error. 

Don't be afraid to try something new and have it fail. You should try out every technique, strategy and activity you have learned during student teaching. This will help you learn about your teaching style and how groups of students will respond differently to activities. Teaching and learning is reciprocal-in order to teach you must learn and sometimes this means you must have failure to have success.

To learn more about the College of Education's BSEd in secondary education: social studies education, please visit the program's website