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John McDermott

Senior Instructor, Urban Community Teacher Education

My story:

Born and raised in the steel town of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, I learned the importance of education at a very early age. My steelworker dad and housewife mom insisted that their five children advance their learning beyond high school. My parents helped me set very high goals for myself and provided a caring atmosphere to support my achievement. With this scaffolding, I managed to teach in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms for 32 years. I understand the public school experience. I was offered a position at the University of Colorado Denver and seized the opportunity to work with, and learn from, the highly motivated educators in my classroom. I love this profession.

My students at University of Colorado Denver:

I do everything in my power to motivate and engage my students in learning. Our relationship is collaborative. My students and I work together to create an exciting classroom filled with multiple opportunities to deeply understand the content and the application of the content to today's classrooms.

Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:

  • Exploring Diversity in Content and Pedagogy I - IPTE 5020
  • Exploring Diversity in Content and Pedagogy I - SPED 5021
  • Social Foundations - UEDU 4010/5010
  • Co-Developing Culturally Responsive Classrooms - UEDU 4020/5020
  • Site Professor at Montbello High School in Denver Public Schools

My research interests:

Motivating and engaging students

My good friend and mentor Dr. Stevi Quate and I wrote a book in 2009 called Clock Watchers: Six Steps to Motivating and Engaging Disengaged Students Across Content Areas. I believe motivation and engagement are the essential ingredients to student learning at all levels. I practice what I preach in my university classrooms. I was awarded the School of Education & Human Development Teaching Award in 2011.


My hobbies:

My wife and I (through thirty years of marriage) are avid runners, bikers, hikers, golfers and lovers of Colorado living.

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