Where They Are Now, a Q&A Series: Alum from the COE's Graduate Teacher Education Program Shares His Story
Author: Jillian Daley
Posted: July 9, 2019

In 2009, Tyler Shelden earned his master’s from the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) in the Portland State University’s College of Education. Since graduating, Shelden has been working abroad in countries including Colombia, China, Egypt and the Côte d’Ivoire.

This July, he transitioned to a new post in Paraguay as the curriculum coordinator and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coordinator, and he wants to show other students where a master’s degree can take them. Shelden grew up in Corvallis and earned a bachelor’s in social studies with a minor in math from the University of Oregon. While at PSU, he earned the Benenson Scholarship and Teach for Diversity Scholarship.

This Where They Are Now Q&A with Shelden will be the first of many in a periodic series highlighting the lives of PSU graduates from the COE (edited for length):

Who was one of your most influential teachers at PSU? How so?

Gayle Thieman. She was on her game. She knew the research. She knew the techniques. She had connections. She was supportive. She is a great person.

What are some of the most important lessons that you learned while you were at PSU?

The educational pedagogy, without a doubt. I have seen colleagues who have been trained at other schools of education who are less flexible and less focused. The PSU educational approach focuses on progressive-constructivist metacognition. What is progressive-constructivist metacognition? It’s being more aware of your thinking processes and how they shape your understanding of various topics. This philosophy is research-based and focused on best practices and changing with the times because education changes, and you can’t just stick with a model and say: “This is how it works.” It’s following the research and following the journals.

What have you been up to since you graduated from PSU?

Not working in America, which is a regret. I want to come work in America, actually. So, I’ve worked in Columbia and then China and then Egypt and then, just now, the Ivory Coast [Côte d’Ivoire] in West Africa. It’s exhausting after a while.

Why keep moving every two years?

You live in a culture, and it’s intriguing and fascinating. One of the reasons there’s a caravan of educators moving throughout the world is because there’s a whole world, and they want to see it … I do want to come back to the States. I decided I will come back when I feel like I have even more to give back. Where? Oregon. The Willamette Valley.

How did PSU prepare you for what you are doing now?

It was awesome: the experiences that we had and the activities we learned have formed the basis for making judgment calls.

What is next for you, and how did your education take you there?

Next is Paraguay, and I’m actually going to be the curriculum coordinator and STEM coordinator. I’m really excited about that. It’ll be really, really fun. The PSU education helped me phenomenally because it allowed me to dual certify in math and social studies. I’m currently working on my EdD from the East Coast at the University of Massachusetts (an online program in leadership in education with a STEM focus). I think Portland State gave me the passion to continue and stay focused and not say, “I did it. I’m done.” Learning is a lifelong learning journey, and you have to stick with it.

Shelden plans to finish his EdD in 2022 or 2023, and he and his wife, who is training to be a counselor, are talking about settling down after that, hopefully in Oregon.

Photo: Submitted Photo of Tyler Shelden

—Jillian Daley

To share stories on the College of Education, contact Jillian Daley