Tami Beth Katz M.A.T. ’00
June 14, 2004
Teaching by Design
Tami Beth Katz, an architect turned teacher, will travel to Japan this fall to participate in the Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program. The three-week program provides 600 American educators with opportunities to experience Japanese culture and education firsthand through school visits, interactions with teachers and students, seminars, and homestays.
When Katz left her career in architecture for teaching, she envisioned herself teaching young children in a grade school. However, a tight job market and shrinking school budgets forced her to explore other alternatives. Eventually, Katz found a job that combined her interests in interior design and architecture with education.
Katz is now an interior design instructor at the Sabin-Shellenberg Skills Center in Milwaukie. The Sabin Center is a professional-technical school for high school students operated by the North Clackamas School District.
Katz feels her training at Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education has helped inform the way she teaches. “At the graduate school, we often focused on finding ways to meaningfully integrate curriculum through our practice of teaching methods,” says Katz. “This practice gave me confidence that I’d be able to engage my students in their own learning process.”
Prior to her trip, Katz plans to ask her students to create interior designs for Japanese families or work on product designs that are shaped by Japanese influences. “While I’m overseas, I’d like to form relationships with Japanese people who might be potential clients for my students’ work,“ she says.
After completing the Fulbright program, Katz will return to Oregon to share her experiences with students and colleagues through curricular improvements, workshops, and new teacher materials.
“I’m really looking forward to my first trip to Japan,” says Katz. “I feel like it’s my way of helping Oregon students gain a greater understanding of other cultures.”
—by Shannon Smith