Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Minutes With Cathy Hindman Reischl

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Cathy Hindman Reischl

This is the latest installment of “Five Minutes With…” Everyone at the School of Education has interesting stories to tell, whether those stories are about their work, their travels, their hobbies or their home life. “Five Minutes With…” provides snapshots into the lives of our faculty and staff. If you know someone who would make a great subject for a future “Five Minutes With…” please contact Dan Bodene at

Cathy Hindman Reischl teaches courses and designs professional development for beginning and experienced teachers in the areas of elementary literacy instruction, teaching in multilingual contexts, and literacy and language development for multilingual students. She is especially interested in creating contexts for beginning and experienced teachers to collaborate in field-based settings as they develop their literacy teaching practices. Her research interests focus on the intersection of language, culture, and schooling in the personal and professional lives of teachers. Reischl was the coordinator of the Elementary Master of Arts with Certification (ELMAC) program for eight years and, in collaboration with colleagues, developed the ESL endorsement program for School of Education teacher candidates. She currently teaches courses in both the ELMAC and undergraduate teacher education programs. In 2008, she was awarded the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School Master’s Mentoring Award for her work with students in the ELMAC program. Reischl has taught in K-12 schools and universities in Thailand, India, New Zealand, and the United States and held a faculty appointment at the University of New Hampshire prior to coming to the School of Education.

What was the most interesting research you’ve done/class you’ve taught?
The Mitchell Scarlett Partnership’s Summer ELMAC ESL program for fourth - to eighth-graders at Scarlett. Every year we work with ELMAC interns to develop project-based writing-with-purpose, culturally-responsive curriculum and teach it with ELMAC interns and Ann Arbor ESL teachers. Being involved with kids, interns, teachers, alums and administrators – that kind of multilevel interaction is a wonderful thing.

What’s the most underrated place on campus?
The first two seats in the third row of the mezzanine on the right during an orchestra concert in Hill Auditorium, where the view is great and the sound is even better.

Name two essential items in your briefcase/backpack/handbag.
My Kindle and an organic Gala apple.

Where would you take an out-of-town visitor?
Kayaking down the Argo Cascades [on the Huron River] – it’s just enough challenge to make it really fun for everybody (and you can’t help but get wet.)

Biggest change you’ve seen on campus since you’ve been here?
Finally, we have a great basketball team!

What’s your strategy for dealing with Ann Arbor traffic?

Best vacation you’ve ever taken?
It’s a toss-up between a long hike on the Coromandel Peninsula on the North Island of New Zealand and a canoe trip with my family in the Boundary Waters by Ely, Minnesota. I won a loon-calling contest in Ely – in fact, my family took first, second and third places. I’ve been calling since I was a girl, and I’m pretty good at it—they sing right back to me!

Favorite place for lunch on campus or in town?
Tmaz Taqueria on the corner of Packard and Platt.

Who was the most influential mentor you've ever had?
Probably my two grown-up kids, Hannah and Charlie, who taught me how to put the work away and pay attention to the people around me.

Have you ever had a superstar student who went on to great national or international success?
No “superstars” that I know of, but as they’ve gone on to be elementary and middle school teachers, my students have taught thousands and thousands of children to improve their literacy and language skills – and in launching these children with strong literacy skills, they’ve provided them with a kind of agency that will serve them all their lives.

What is it about teaching that gives you the most satisfaction?
Seeing beginning teachers and children engaged in teaching and learning – lots of talk, lots of text, lots of energy and enthusiasm. These are the contexts that produce growth. Teaching is a catalyst for engagement; the work that we do in teaching starts a process that is lifelong.

What's the biggest difference you see in today's students that wasn't apparent when you first started teaching?
Everybody wants to text rather than talk. (I like talking.)That said, I think students today are very resourceful. They know how to use a range of tools to get the information they need.

What's the number one reason you chose your particular area of expertise/research?
I love language and all of its possibilities and I want to be involved in opening up these possibilities for others. I’m pretty lucky to be able to do that.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working (hobbies, etc.)?
Ride my new bike with my husband on local trails. I’m a voracious reader of novels. My most recent favorite is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Cathy Hindman Reischl is Clinical Professor

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