CCES Voices

Charlie Woodward

CCES Faculty Spotlight: Charlie Woodward

Charlie Woodward didn’t plan to make a career out of teaching, and he wouldn’t have believed you if you told him he’d one day become the well-respected veteran teacher he is today. 
I loved my experience as a student at Westminster in Atlanta,” Woodward said. “I thought it would be fun to teach and coach for a few years before going back to grad school of some sort.”
Woodward started off teaching history and coaching cross country and golf without any prior experience or training.
I learned a lot on the fly and worked crazy hours for the first few years as I tried to learn all I could about effective teaching,” he said.

Learning How to Teach; Teaching How to Learn

What Woodward learned from the beginning is that the personal, relational part of education attracted him the most.
“I love helping students and seeing them navigate their way through the learning experience,” he said.

Woodward, now a social studies teacher at the Upper School, makes it a point to find a way to engage with every student on an individual level. He says he’s a more effective teacher if he understands where a student is coming from as a learner.
“But it's also where the fun is,” he says. “I love teaching about U.S. history, but the real fun is engaging with students in a way that opens them to something they haven't considered, challenges them to grow, and equips them with knowledge and skills for the future.”
And Woodward wants every one of his students to know that he cares about them. 
“This goes beyond grades, scores, or college admissions - all of which are important,” Woodward said. “For me, it's a matter of trying to live up to the call of the Golden Rule,  ‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you,’ and the command to love my neighbor as myself. 
Although he teaches the same subject several times a day, Woodward says the students make every class different.
“Each group has a distinct personality and interests that inevitably makes some topics more compelling than others,” Woodward says. “In a broad sense, I want my students to learn to think more deeply about the world they live in and how it has developed, so I try to challenge some of their assumptions as we go along.
“I enjoy the moments when students really come alive with a new realization.”

Coaching the Cavaliers

Woodward still coaches, just like he did when he entered the teaching profession. He has coached soccer and golf in the past at CCES, but this year marked Woodward’s  17th year as a cross country coach, 13 at CCES.
He’s noticed several differences between teaching and coaching.
“The less formal setting for coaching leads to a different type of rapport with the athletes,” Woodward said. “It also makes a difference that, for most of my runners, they have chosen to be there, which is different than a class.”
Woodward admits the competitive aspect of sports also stands out as different from teaching. Woodward has led the Cavalier cross country teams to three state championships during his career. 
“It’s fun to work together towards winning a state championship!” he said. We agree and look forward to many more years!

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