Mara Simmons, PhD

A tinker in education that promotes joy and curiosity.

7 Completed Classes
0 Reviews
Joined January 2021

My Teacher Intro

Teaching is my life, my parents would say. In my young adult life I took great joy at creating explanations for things and sharing new knowledge with others. As I matured I learned that much of teaching is learning, listening and understanding others' perspectives and experiences and the combination of learning with my love for sharing knowledge helps define my approach in any course I teach.

I have been privileged with having a long and varied teaching career that includes teaching math, science, history, leadership and English to young students in Los Angeles for nearly 10 years in mostly low income, culturally diverse communities. In addition I have served as a school head, director and school founder for 12 years and most recently was a program manager for teacher training in the UK where I shaped what teacher training can look like for the post 16 sector.
Choosing to teach online is a new venture for me and opportunity for me to grow. I appreciate the in-person sessions and look forward to cultivating discussion and learner engagement. Also I believe education should be about choice and love that here you choose what you want to study.
The subjects I will teach will be those relevant to wishing to improve their professional skills whether it be working with others, ways of writing or how to increase colleague engagement and enthusiasm. In addition I hope to bring in some courses specific for teachers and presenters around how to prepare lessons and how to increase student engagement and joy for learning. Lastly I am interested in teaching about how to cope with remote learning and working as I have observed and at times struggled with these issues in the past and have found some useful strategies that have worked.
In my classes you will never be quiet for an entire session nor have to listen to me lecture- I am a believer in collaboration, discussion and facilitated learning. Problem based, project based learning is my approach in a school setting; here online we will have a version of it. At the end of each session we will re-cap to make sure that you have left with a nugget of learning or provocation to go further along with some extra tools to be that value add.

Qualifications & Experience

As a passionate educator I have actively engaged with learning all my life. I have a PhD in Urban Leadership focused on school design and school leadership. Prior I completed a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on school leadership and curricular design. My teaching qualifications are UK and US with a California Credential in secondary math education. Academically I studied Politics and achieved a BA from UC Santa Cruz many moons ago.
Most recently I lead and taught on a teaching qualification programme in Oxford, UK and before that was leading schools in Los Angeles for 12+ years after teaching in several public schools for 6 years. Now when not teaching online I am growing an Ed-Tech company and designing a new school model to improve secondary education internationally.


Juggling work and remote learning- how can I make it better?

Recognising that many are juggling working from home and managing their own children in remote learning this course will provide you with some tools and ideas to help make the experience more manageable for all.

Engage your learners in relevant, meaningful projects

Using Design Thinking we will create a project based learning task to revitalise your teaching practice and re-energise YOU the teacher.

Considering a school leadership role? What is your Why?

To improve education we need to prepare the next cohort of school leaders. This course will help you know if this is where you want to progress.

Worker to Sage presented by EDUMENTEACH

Support employer-school engagement with impact: A definitive course to learn how to evoke passion and engage learners when collaborating with schools and school projects.