I love my job! This is my thirty-third year. I have taught in three Catholic Elementary Schools and have spent the last twenty-five years in Upper Darby School District. I have taught under the tutorage of nine principals. I consider the two years I trained a dog for The Seeing Eye some of the greatest lessons I have ever taught as this dog came to school with me everyday. I have been written up in Who’s Who Among American Educators three times. I have had the privilege to get to know parish and neighborhood families where students come back to visit with their spouses and children. I have buried more students than I ever thought possible. This position as educator has molded me not only as a teacher but also as a mother, grandmother, wife and friend. Giving my students everything I possibly can has always been and still is a passion for me.
I teach a diversified classroom of twenty-seven fifth grade students in a middle to lower class neighborhood. My students have a wide range of abilities. I have three students who are labeled under the umbrella of autism, one of whom is more severe than the others. I have four students with IEP’s whose reading levels are below the proficient level. I have one student whose IEP places her in the gifted range. Two of my students have IEP’s that place them in an Emotional Support classroom a better part of the day. Their educational needs are a varied as they themselves are.
Over the past few years our district has been installing Smart Boards into classrooms. While there were funds, our school placed a few in each grade with the promise that ours would be coming in another year or two. At this time some of us have them and others do not. Due to budget cuts, they are no longer putting Smart Boards into any room. The teachers who are lucky enough to have these Smart Boards can deliver far superior, engaging lessons to their students. Standards are enjoyable to teach and take to mastery when this tool is implemented into their daily lessons. I feel it is a huge disadvantage to students who had Smart Boards last year and are now in classrooms where there isn’t one. Our Language Arts curriculum is “Storytown” where overhead transparencies are used to introduce the concepts and teach the lessons. These overheads are bland when viewed on the traditional overhead projector. Not only does the Smart Board make these transparencies much easier to view but the students can come up to the Smart Board and interact with it. They can write answers on it, make answer selections and in general, be an integral part of the lesson being presented. Since the Smart Board connects to the teacher’s computer, the teacher can use any and all educational programs that are available to her on the Internet. It is a wealth of resources.
With all of the standardize testing our students are subject to, I for one, would very much appreciate the opportunity to present the complicated information to my students in a way that captivates their interests using the very latest technology available to us.
Many thanks for everything you are doing to better educate the future of our great country.