What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Every child has unique gifts. I love helping students unwrap those gifts and discover their hidden talents. Students are eager to develop their abilities and share their knowledge. My job is to give students educational tools and confidence as wings, then proudly watch them take flight.
What are your favorite moments with a student?
My favorite moments with students are witnessing the proverbial light bulbs shine above their heads. Setting the stage for guided discovery and watching those “Ah ha” moments are the most rewarding parts of my job. Even students mimic me and say, “I hear a light bulb” or “I see a light bulb” as they observe a classmate reach a momentary milestone.
What people or experiences have had the most influence on you?
Several people and experiences have shaped the way I teach. As my first teacher, my mom showed me how to find wonder and amazement in all that we did. Next, my Jesuit education during high school and college years instilled life-long values. Their motto of Cura Personalis — caring for the whole person — is evident both in my everyday life and teaching philosophy.
Finally, I really connected with the beliefs of two educators and try to put their teachings into practice. Francis Parker envisioned a child-centered educational atmosphere coupled with an integrated curriculum. John Dewey wanted a school to be a cooperative community and believed that “Students learned best while engaged in activities that involved creative problem-solving and responsibilities to fellow students. … Learning, in other words, was not too different from life.” Their ideals withstood the test of time and are at the core of today’s 21st-century learning skills: critical thinking and problem-solving, collaboration, creativity, and communication.