Trish Cislak

Head of Libraries and Research
How long have you been teaching at Crescent?
Since 2010 - that went by fast!

What motivated you to become a teacher?
I loved my elementary school teachers. I used to invite them to my home for lunch – my mom would set the dining room table because it was such a special event. I got so much out of what each teacher brought to the classroom or sports arena and how they worked to bring out the best in me. I think that was a driving force in how I landed in my teaching career.

Describe a significant experience in your career.
The action research program in the International Boys’ Schools Coalition (IBSC) has been a powerful experience that elevated me as a professional. Action research requires you to take a step back and look at your teaching practice and consider what you can do differently. I believe this reflective inquiry – we call it “intuition from intention” – is a must for all teachers. As a Team Advisor with the IBSC Action Research Program, I have realized that peer coaching is a very fulfilling practice that makes me more mindful about my work as I strive to give good advice to the teachers I am coaching. It’s satisfying to think that if I am enriching the lives of teachers, the boys they work with must be enriched too.

What is your philosophy of education?
I’ve been driven by the statement that we are preparing our youth for careers that have yet to be created. Keeping that in mind, I think the role of education is to build knowledge, create critical and independent thinkers, and try to inspire the idea of contributing to your community in a positive and productive way. I have a sticky note in my office that reminds me of the difference between engaging students versus empowering students. Empowerment is the true “owning” of one’s experience. That’s why I think having a strong reading culture and research-based experience helps to guide the boys to “finding their way, their way.”

Career Notes
  • Teaching career began in 1991; joined Crescent School faculty in 2010
  • CAIS Leadership Institute Certificate, 2007
  • Published findings of IBSC Action Research Project in ACCESS (Australian School Library Association Journal) in 2012
  • Became Team Advisor for IBSC Action Research Program in 2012
  • Presented at ISBC conferences in England, the U.S., South Africa and Canada
  • Initiated the ISBC Librarian Network
  • Co-curricular activities at Crescent include coaching soccer, curling and softball teams, and advising students in Middle School Leadership Council and Upper School Writers’ Guild

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