Nobis Teacher Spotlight: Will Nisbet

by | Oct 16, 2015 | Blog

We are excited to share our first in a new Nobis Teacher Spotlight series. In these posts we will share interviews of teachers involved with Nobis Project. Learn about what drew them to participate and how their experience with Nobis Project shapes their work in the classroom.

Today we spotlight Will Nisbet, a 4th grade lead teacher at Maret School in Washington, D.C.

Why did you choose to attend the Nobis World program?

I was interested in the opportunity to be in a removed setting with other educators. It is a rare opportunity to take time outside of our jobs to reflect and share ideas with one another and then to work together to build curriculum in a supportive environment. It promised to be a unique experience where we could build trust and relationships and lean on one another without distraction.

Will Laura Presenting
How has your approach to teaching changed after attending the Nobis World program?

I implemented a pilot project using the Nobis Global Action Model and the Nobis Big Ideas before I attended the Nobis World program. During the program I was able to reflect on the pilot’s success. But more importantly, with the help of the Nobis Project facilitators and other teachers on the Nobis World program, I was able to understand the importance and value of reflection and developing reciprocal community partnership. I learned that guiding students through meaningful and critical reflection add a richness and depth to the service-learning project and the experience overall. During the pilot I successfully implemented the service-learning process, but the reflection and the community relationship wasn’t there yet and now I have an idea of how to improve those things. Now I’m excited to see how the project goes this year!


Describe an example from your classroom of the Nobis Big Ideas in action (History, Power, Relationships, Global Citizenship, Cultural Responsiveness).

We reformatted our historical fiction-reading unit to focus on understanding the history of racial migration and treatment of persons of color, especially in D.C. We examined the history of racial relationships that created a racial imbalance and a segregated city. Our service-learning project challenged students to understand:

How we can make an impact?

What is our role?

What can we do and where do we fit in as a part of this community?

In the end our students gained a much broader awareness about their community and we empowered 10 year olds to engage in their community in order to make a small difference.

What other things do you want to share with teachers/administrators considering attending a Nobis World program?

The Nobis World program offers a way to explore the Nobis Big Ideas in a different setting where you have to practice them. This was one of the pieces I enjoyed the most, practicing the Nobis Big Ideas with the Mariposa Center. The program also creates a safe and trusting environment where you can challenge your personal, interpersonal and professional development as a teacher. Unlike traditional professional development, this program goes beyond ideas and theory, and instead offers a place to have difficult conversations and reflect on yourself as an educator. Spending 5-8 days together gives you the necessary time for reflection, relationship building, and engaging in ongoing conversations with other teachers. Being a part of a cohort that builds trust and support is a vital feature and it models what learning can be like in the classroom.