What do you teach at B’nai Shalom?
I currently teach Upper School Social Studies. I have previously taught 2, 3 and 4 year olds in Preschool, First Grade, Third Grade Math, and Upper School Composition, as well as English as a Second Language at B’nai Shalom. I have also been responsible for the gardening classes.
Why do you teach?
Nothing excites me as much as the first day of school. I love to see the students arrive filled with anticipation of what the new school year will bring. I teach because I love learning, and my greatest hope is to instill that love in my students. I want to help them strive for that feeling of success that a job well done brings. Be it a 5 year old learning to read or a 14 year old writing that first research paper, guiding the process is what I love to do.
Why do you teach at B’nai Shalom?
This will be my 19th year at B’nai Shalom, and I still say that I have the best job in the world. I teach Social Studies to students who arrive each morning anxious to learn, and I am surrounded by professionals who share common goals. Working in a faith based school is important to me as the respect that the students and I have for their culture and religion clearly transfers to respect for the learning environment. The result is a perfect recipe for quality education.
What do you want students to get from having known you?
I want students to learn to be open-minded as to the possibilities that life brings and to be aware of the world around him/her. I want my students to be comfortable in taking academic risks and to question and debate freely.
What is the most important life lesson students will learn in your class?
In my Social Studies classes I hope that students will learn to look at all sides of economic, geographic, and political issues and ultimately to develop empathy and understanding for our fellow human beings.
What is the most important life lesson you have learned from your students?
I believe that we are partners in learning, and, consequently, I learn something new each day. It was quite a revelation to me, however, to realize how important sports are to the overall well- being of the students. My own children were always very active in sports, but I never realized how what happened on the field carried over to the classroom. I also learned how important it is for the students to see me cheering them on.
How do you teach to the way a child learns?
My program is hands on with lots of projects, presentations, and art work. Students always have the opportunity to show mastery of the material in the manner that they choose. Our discussions are lively. We learn basic debating skills and use them in our Mock Trial exercises where students choose their roles, from defense attorney to technical director. We have presented plays, and written poetry. I teach to the way a child learns by listening and observing the child and then discussing with that child how he best achieves success.
What types of professional development have you completed in the past year?
To professionally prepare to teach Social Studies, I find that I must read, read, and then read some more. I have constantly evaluated both historical and current event materials, thereby encouraging my students to do the same.
In what ways do you collaborate with other teachers?
The Upper School teachers collaborate almost daily in terms of planning projects and activities. Class sizes give us the opportunity to notice things that might otherwise be missed, and we have the opportunity to professionally share these observations in order to promote the best learning experience for the student. We plan units together and find that the same concepts are usually being stressed across the curriculum.