At Henry Barnard I am inspired every day by colleagues who build an atmosphere of joyful learning and honor students for who they are. Our students feel ownership and agency over their learning and feel safe to participate, take risks and make mistakes. They flourish academically in a classroom where morning meetings, community building exercises, cooperative learning, project-based learning, respectful listening, and encouraging each other’s work are built into daily routine and classroom expectations.
This is my first year as a teacher associate after earning a Masters of Arts in Teaching, and I bring to teaching a background as an author, editor, writing consultant, parent and volunteer in Rhode Island public schools. After graduating from Union College in 1987, I spent a post-graduate year traveling on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship studying the culture of baseball in Japan, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Nicaragua. While conducting field research and learning the language, I interacted with ballplayers and local families often teaching them English. The poverty I encountered solidified my worldview and inspired me toward a lifetime of helping others.
I have dedicated much of my life since to freelance writing and working on education projects based on the belief that all people should have the opportunity to thrive. It’s what inspired me to tutor multilingual learners, teach literacy skills to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, set up a Japanese language program for underserved high school students in Rhode Island, and spearhead a school playground campaign in the urban ring of East Providence. The latter was at my ten-year-old daughter Caroline’s elementary school.
Kindness, warmth, empathy, and deep interest in the backgrounds of students are the core of my teaching identity. Listening to students and getting to know their backgrounds informs instruction and helps me to design lessons that are meaningful to students in a way that builds off their knowledge, interests and schema. Listening to students validates that who they are is important. Knowing a child’s funds of knowledge and interests allows me to teach in a way that is authentic and purposeful and engage each and every child in their classroom. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to teach at Henry Barnard alongside faculty who are dedicated to their craft and committed every day to creating the best possible learning environment for our students.