Hunter Doucette: Letting students be the leaders of their learning
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
Hunter Doucette of Great Hearts Northern Oaks is an educator who encourages students to find their own path and learn what works best for them.
In his senior year of college, Hunter Doucette had his sights set on law school when, one day, he was approached by a guy at a bar who told him about Teach for America. Having been told he would be a good fit, Hunter decided to apply and got in, and the trajectory of his life changed completely. He went on to spend two years working in North Carolina as a special education and math teacher, and then, wanting to be closer to family, moved to San Antonio. He’s worked at Great Hearts Northern Oaks ever since.
Hunter always makes sure he's up-to-date with the latest in education, but finds learning from other teachers’ insights to be the most beneficial tool for improving his craft. Likewise, as an educator who is heavily invested in personal development, Hunter asks for feedback from his students on his teaching and tries to learn from them, too. "I read through all of their reflections and make adjustments to my teaching the very next week,” he said. “When students see I am holding up my end of the bargain and I’m receptive to their feedback, they’re more inclined to welcome my feedback and take seriously their commitment to improving."
Although he had a hybrid classroom last year due to Covid, Hunter is now taking full advantage of having students physically back in class. He makes great use of whiteboards, which he has on each wall of his classroom. "Getting students up and solving problems in front of everyone has been tremendous. It's simple but so effective - it gets them up and moving and allows me to pinpoint any misunderstandings and mistakes," said Hunter.
Hunter prides himself on the conversational, relaxed nature of his classroom and places a great emphasis on students coming to realizations by themselves. "I'm not one to say that they have to solve a problem a certain way. Sometimes, my way might be the most efficient, but it's not the only way. In that way, the class feels more open and relaxed, and students can be more in charge of their own learning," he said. Hunter also notes that to be a good teacher, one must engage with students, build solid relationships, and build their confidence. "No matter what the subject, once a student feels like they are cared for, they'll rise to the occasion.”
Photos courtesy of Hunter Doucette