Why I started Teaching
I loved learning about the world around me when I was a kid. I grew up watching the PBS show Cosmos with Carl Sagan and was drawn into the magic that made life so interesting. Looking up at the night sky filled me with wonder about our place in the vast universe. I honestly believe that inquisitiveness is born from wonder about how things work. When we encourage kids to be amazed at the answers to questions that arise in their brain we allow their imaginations to develop and the love for learning to flourish.
As I write this, I have a big smile on my face. I am remembering my days of volunteering in the classroom of Mr. Gregory Bertsch’s first grade class. I had retired from working as a secretary at our local middle school. Before that, I had spent 16 years at the elementary school where Mr. Bertsch worked. I told him that I had never spent time on the other side of the counter and that I wanted to see how it goes. My granddaughter was in his class so he asked if I wanted to come spend time in his room which I did. I was amazed at the culture of his room. He interacted so well with the students, always willing to review and not move on till what he was trying to teach them was accepted. He had taught the students the mottos of his class and what he expected from them. The students knew their schedule and exactly when it was time to transition to another subject.
Greg taught the students all about kindness ripples and when they sat in circle time to share or discuss, if one of the students commented on something in a good way, they do the signal for kindness ripples. I would go in each year around a holiday and do arts and crafts with the class. To this day, I still have samples of them all. Not only did I find a wonderful, caring and empathetic teacher, I found a great friend. I did this volunteer for at least 5 years and truly miss it and Mr. Bertsch.
I wish him and his new endeavor the utmost success. Anyone who has the pleasure of working with him or has a student working with him they are and will be blessed.
Mrs. Julie Markiewicz
Enjoyment of Learning
My enthusiasm for teaching started with coaching youth sports. I discovered the power of helping kids develop skills that in turn created self esteem and self confidence in daily life. By giving them tools to deal with adversity on the field in a productive positive way, children can become self empowered and will take risks to get better at something. This translates to learning in the classroom as well.
Taking the time to let young learners discover their own gifts and talents takes time and patience. I believe that all too often when in public schools kids are expected to learn in a certain way on a specific timeline that so often does not correlate with their individual learning style, their interests, or their ability level.
When you align a child’s learning style and include their personal passions of interest, teachers create an environment that will encourage them to enjoy learning and be engaged. More importantly, joy becomes the byproduct of the entire process because the student is treated as the integral part of the learning, not some standardized test being in the driver’s seat.
My Recent Background
I currently have a masters in both education as well as an initial license as a reading specialist. I am licensed and have taught in Massachusetts for more than ten years as a first grade classroom teacher. I continue to take graduate level courses to grow in areas I feel the desire to learn more about.
For the past three years I have been teaching remotely, the first of which was with a full classroom of 24 students . The last two years I have created a classroom with platforms that are easy to use and engage the learning process. Helping parents teach their kids and empowering them to feel comfortable with homeschooling has been amazing. The beauty of teaching this way in very small groups makes it easy to address all specific learning styles and follow the natural paths of interest and inquiry. I have experience teaching reading, writing, and math with grades 1st-3rd. I believe it is important to educate in the specific window of your own strengths and experience. Many tutors will exaggerate their skills and teach all grades and topics regardless of their education and experience level. That is why I only teach 1st-3rd grades.
“The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”
The Importance of Social Emotional Learning
During my time teaching 1st grade I learned so much about social emotional learning and the importance of joy and fun in the classroom. Kids do not learn effectively when they are not included in the process of learning. If a child is engaged, feels self empowered, gets to follow their own line of inquiry, and can enjoy what they are doing, learning becomes fun which translates to the desire to become a lifelong learner.
Helping students learn to write allows them to discover their own voice in the world. Reading opens up imagination and creates an avenue to unexplored territories. Math should help a child understand patterns and allow them recognize the sequences that lie behind the mysteries in the universe. Science is all around us and encourages imagination, inquiry, and provides a way for students to collaborate in discovery. Education can be so powerful if each child gets to walk their own path and learn in their own way. I encourage you to come on this journey and give me the opportunity to sail the ship of discovery with your child steering the course.