Episode #99: Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion, Empower Voice with Elisabeth Bostwick

By Barbara Bray

Join Barbara Bray in conversations with awesome educators, leaders, and influencers as they talk about their passion and purpose for planting seeds for change. Each podcast has a link to a related blog post with more information and resources.

Elisabeth Bostwick is a multi-award-winning educator who is passionate about creating the conditions to spark curiosity and unleash creativity to empower learning. She is the author of “Take the L.E.A.P.: Ignite a Culture of Innovation.” Driven to elevate education, Elisabeth speaks at both local and national conferences to support educators in their journey to foster cultures of innovation and authentic learning experiences for their students. Welcome, Lis (pronounced the same as Liz)!
Your background and family
I am and born and raised in the Finger Lakes version of New York. I grew up going to state parks and hiking. I have one sister who is five years older than me. My mom and dad still live nearby and my husband and I live close to where I grew up. My parents play a large role in our children’s lives.

We have two boys Julian and Nolan who are in their teens now are 28 months apart. We thought that would be perfect so they would be best friends. Anyone who is a parent knows there are ups and downs. My husband, Mike, is a principal at an intermediate school in his 8th year in administration. I’m so lucky to have married my best friend who I met in high school. Our boys keep us on our toes. It’s funny how two kids from the same family can be so different than one another. It’s always fun to see them grow and they have provided me a unique perspective of what education and learning really mean. I am learning through their eyes. We also have three pets: a 12-year-old cat named Arielle and two dogs, Bella and Choe who is our newest addition who we are training as a therapy dog.

What was it like for you as a student
Looking back, I think I would know more than when I was a child on what I needed for my future. As long as I enjoyed certain aspects of learning, I found many subjects especially mathematics complicated. If I was put on the spot or ashamed that I didn’t understand it, I would just shut down or pull back. I found socializing with my peers more engaging at times. I really enjoyed sports and an avid athlete all through school and loved running, dancing, and things like that. I had a handful of teachers who made a big impact on me. They were the ones who fostered authentic relationships and a classroom culture that embraced every individual and provided choice.
On the flip side, I also had educators that created a culture involved around fear, what your grades were. As a child, I was very shy and afraid to speak out concerned about how it would be perceived. At the same time, I don’t think anyone knew I had those feelings. Every experience taught me something like what to do and what not to do as a teacher.
Launching the Maker Mindset

Your journey as a teacher
I changed my major several times. My real passion has always been around how the brain learns and psychology. I was able to connect the dots on why I didn’t understand certain things or why I may have felt the way I did. I saw it as an opportunity where I could do something different where I had an impact on kids. 
I started teaching in a long term substitute position for a half year. Then the following year, I got hired and mostly taught in a 4th-grade teaching position. I’ve been a classroom teacher for 15 years with some experience in most elementary …