Teacher Education

Melody Shank

Associate Professor


500 Bailey Hall

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 228-8325


Before coming to USM in 2000, I had spent my life in the Midwest. I was raised on a farm in southern Ohio that I consider home even after 30 years. I went to college in Indiana and settled there, living in Fort Wayne for 15 years. A highlight of my young adult years were the two years I lived in Germany, first as an exchange student in the Black Forest at age 17 and then as a university student at Phillips Universität in Marburg. After college I worked as a high school German teacher and school counselor in a rural Indiana town that had an amazingly progressive superintendent of schools. He involved our school in the reform wave of the 1990s and I became interested in high school reform, teacher inquiry and change, and curricular change. As a peer coach for Coalition of Essential Schools-aligned reform initiative in Indiana, I worked with many schools as they considered small and large changes. I left my rural district to pursue my doctorate in curriculum studies at Indiana University in 1994. 

Teaching Perspective

Teaching to me is a creative process. Even though I teach the same courses every year, I always approach them with an eye for new ways to engage students actively in the ideas and practices of teaching.  To learn to teach one must immerse oneself in the day to day work of teachers, yet make sense of the historical and philosophical ideas that ground those practices. I strive to have my students put their minds and bodies to work in understanding themselves as creative problem-solvers, passionate learners of their subjects and students, and skilled and intuitive practitioners.

Intellectual Pursuits

I am interested in understanding teachers' lives, thinking, learning, and collaboration. In my past scholarly work, I have explored the power of teachers' collaborative learning and inquiry, and how the culture of teaching affects teachers' sense of self and learning. I also love to explore how ideas from other disciplines and arenas-especially the arts-inform the practice of teachers.

Personal Side

am comfortable in the world of ideas, both abstract and concrete. I'm a big picture person, who has to work hard to attend to detail. I love to travel and see the beauty of the natural world. I am amazed at and appreciative of artistic expression and wish that I too had the skill to create beauty. I sing, I garden, I read, and try to find wholesome ways to move through this world.