Sunday, November 18, 2018

Today, I am thankful for teachers. Smarty was lucky - she had many outstanding teachers over the years, and most of them tried hard to keep her engaged and learning even when they were limited by their grade-level curriculum and the need to support 26-30 students in the classroom. Her three favorite public school teachers were her kindergarten teacher who also taught her in the first grade, her third grade teacher, and her science teacher in the 7th grade.
She acquired new favorites in her new school - a Spanish teacher, an English teacher, and a science teacher. She loves her English teacher most, because he lets them explore linguistics at length, and then there is Hamlet to read and watch on YouTube. I think her English teacher is very good even though I am a bit concerned with almost total lack of actual writing. But it's her science teacher (in the photo above) that I find most fascinating. He was a captain and an expedition leader on board the educational research vehicle during her circumnavigation which linked over 260 New York City classrooms with the ship as it sailed around the world. He taught in several countries and now settled (kind of) in Smarty's new school. He teachers biology, middle school science, AP environmental science, and marine biology, plus he manages logistics of school's sailing team.
Last year, Smarty loved her science teacher but did not like her subject complaining that everything is moving too slow. This year, she has no such complaints. Life science is moving at a fast clip, with interesting labs and videos to watch. From time to time, kids are paired up for projects when they need to research a topic and teach it to others. Dr B. is a fun teacher, but he is also pushing students to do their best. His policy is that the student has to go "above and beyond" to get 100% on a lab or a presentation. It was a bit of a shock to Smarty who was used to rubric-based grading, and she has never received an A for her labs yet. She does try to impress her teacher, and I guess he did, because he invited her to join his marine biology class in late September and already suggested for her to take AP Environmental Science next year. Smarty is working hard in her science classes and lately she started shifting from her previous career aspirations of becoming a psychologist to careers in life sciences. It's too early to say what she chooses to do, but I am so happy and grateful that she met a science teacher this year who is passionate about his subject and can challenge her appropriately. The best part is that all her favorite teachers will be teaching her again in high school next year.

Your Turn

Who was your child's best teacher and why?

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