When I was in HS, the people who had the biggest impact on me were my teachers. They pushed me really hard to succeed and, ultimately, they helped me get into the University of Michigan. This experience was really formative and inspired me to get into education. Originally I wanted to teach Math at a HS level, but that changed over time.
While I was taking advanced math courses at Michigan, I decided to take Latin to fulfill my language requirement. I loved it; everything about the language interested and enamored me. Around this same time, I realized that mathematics weren’t for me in a professional sense. I loved the “puzzle” aspect of math, but when it came to actually applying things in the real world, I just didn’t have the motivation. While going through this mini-crisis, I continued taking Latin courses and ended up really loving it. I ultimately triple majored (History, Classical Languages and Literature, and Comparative Literature) and turned my ambitions to grad school, thinking this would be the best way to get into teaching the subjects I was passionate about.
I moved to Boulder to pursue my PhD in Classical Studies. During the first year of my PhD program, I had no teaching responsibilities, but I was really nervous and excited about teaching the next year. I spent that year assisting a professor in the department, attending lectures given by successful college-level teachers, and reading books and articles about pedagogy at the college-level. I’ve since enjoyed great reviews and have been given a number of fantastic opportunities.
My passion for teaching eventually led me to leaving the PhD program at CU. I never realized that the further you get in academia, the less you’re expected to teach. Eventually I decided to step away and focus on teaching as that was honestly what brought me the most joy. I now teach for the Program of Writing and Rhetoric at CU and I love it. Furthermore, teaching in this department has helped me strengthen my teaching immensely.
I have given a number of talks on pedagogy and course design, and I’m currently an assistant course designer for CU’s Continuing Education program. As much as I love teaching, helping teachers teach seems like a way to help more students in the long-term, which is what has drawn me to this.
Here is a link to my RateMyProfessor page (highest rated at CU!). Here is a link to my page on a site that does data visualizations for internal CU professor evaluations (although it looks like they’ve stopped updating the site). And here is a link to the University of Colorado’s FCQ database. If you search “Ostro, Christopher” here you can get the raw data from every semester I’ve ever taught at CU.
In addition, I taught at a prestigious college-prep school in Denver for the 2017-2018 academic year.. This has given me a wealth of experience with HS aged students, and I feel myself growing as a teacher daily.
I hope to also post some of my syllabi here, for any interested parties.