Janet Berley

Third Grade

B.S. in Education, Illinois State University

jberley@morganparkacademy.org

Q&A

Why do you choose to work at MPA?

I choose to work at MPA because I enjoy teaching at an independent school with a small classroom setting where I can focus attention on each and every student, academically and emotionally. I feel that the close relationship of teacher and student is very successful and real at Morgan Park Academy.

How do you inspire students to enjoy learning?

I like to inspire students to enjoy learning by making each subject relatable to their life. They are excited when projects give them choices.

In math, they like estimating and adding costs of items that they would like to buy, or using magazine pictures to find and measure angles, and earn and count money for a school store. In language arts they can write about how characters in a story relate to their own personal experiences or write narratives and persuasive writings on a topic of their choice. In science, they love hands-on experiments, so I try to incorporate them into every unit.

What is the most important lesson you want students to learn in your class?

I would like all of my students to learn to love themselves, be proud and true to who they are, and try their best! When a child can embrace the differences in themselves and others then they can achieve success in life.

I would like them to learn that their voice and opinions matter. I hope that my open environment creates a welcoming setting for all to participate in open ended discussions, share concerns, welcome criticism and foster kindness through compliments and random acts of kindness that are encouraged daily.

What do you want your students to take away from having known you?

I want all my students who have known me and had me as a teacher to feel that they were truly safe and comfortable to be themselves and that I was caring and nurturing to all the different talents they had and that I challenged them to always be their best.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

What I enjoy the most about teaching is meeting and getting to know and love so many different kinds of students. Each individual is so unique, which makes every day and year exciting. I am learning and growing along with them and have fond memories from each child that I have the pleasure of teaching.

What professional development activities have you participated in recently?

I attended a workshop on Junior Great Books shared inquiry, Responsive Classroom training, and a Learning on the Brain Conference in New York.

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

I love to play golf, hike in the mountains, go on long walks with my dog, and am growing a new interest in plants and flowers.