Dr. Carol Coram ’72 takes post at international school

Dr. Carol Coram '72. Photo courtesy Steve Shay, West Seattle Herald.

June 14, 2011

Bradley alumna Carol Coram ’72 is moving into a new position at a new school after 11 years at Arbor Heights Elementary School in Seattle, WA. Coram will be the assistant principal at Denny International Middle School, also in Seattle.

“I wanted to do something different and take on new challenges,” Coram said.

Denny International Middle School has a focus on world language, cultural studies, and teaching across the curriculum.

“My current school feeds into Denny, so I will be able to follow my students and watch them grow and develop for three more years. To me, this is a wonderful gift!” Coram said.

Coram believes the most valuable career skill she learned at Bradley was efficient time management.

“What I learned at Bradley that prepared me for my career occurred inside and outside the classroom. The Department of Teacher Education gave me the tools I needed to be a teacher regarding theory and content knowledge. What I learned outside the classroom is something I practiced every day, that being time management,” Coram said.

“I had classes, athletic practices, cheerleading practice and was an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Somewhere in between, I had to do assignments and study. Sticking to a strict regimen made it all come together,” Coram said.

Coram is still testing herself when it comes to athletics. She has competed in three triathlons so far this season, one in April and two in May. She will participate in the Ragnar Relay in July, where her team will start near the Canadian border in Washington and will cover 189 miles. Each person on her team will run three times from 8:00 a.m. on the starting day until 4:00 p.m. the next day.

Coram has sage advice for her predecessors studying teacher education at Bradley.

“There is no magical ‘one way’ to teach. Most of what you will learn will be once you land that first job,” Coram said.

Coram advises teachers to join all the professional organizations that are offered, and to continue learning.

“Join the national teaching organizations, specialized national organizations and their local affiliates. Keep current by reading professional journals and books. Attend professional development workshops, seminars and conferences,” Coram advised.

She credits strong relationships with her students and their families for her success in the classroom.

“These relationships will be the foundation from which you will operate each school year. Contact them before the year starts and if possible, arrange home visits simply to introduce yourself and to become familiar with the hopes and dreams families have for their children. These early connections just might pay off throughout the school year,” Coram said.

Coram has learned that routines are particularly beneficial for young learners.

“Establish your class routines starting the first day of school and don’t worry if you don’t get to the curriculum as quickly as you would like. Let students be a part of developing the classroom code of conduct and making decisions when appropriate. Their buy-in will be priceless,” Coram said.

Though Coram learned a great deal at Bradley and has plenty of teaching experience on top of that, she knows that she will continue to learn throughout her career.

“There are an infinite number of things to consider when you become a teacher. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the profession or a veteran. Give it your best, show compassion and a love for learning and most of all, have fun!” Coram said.