What have been some of your biggest challenges?
Every year you
have a different group of people, and a whole set of new challenges
and personalities. The needs of students—what they come to school
with today as opposed to 22 years ago—are more and more serious.
A lot of times the press about education is negative—what teachers
are doing and what students are learning. There are so many special,
special needs that students have. When you know in your heart that on
some days school is the happiest place in these students' lives, it
makes your job as a teacher even more difficult and challenging. But
in other ways, it's rewarding to know that you can affect a life this
When do you decide to make a change in your approach to teaching something in math or science?
Watching the children
is probably the best guideline. Observing how they are dealing with
the activity, listening to their conversations, asking them to talk
back to you about what they're doing and what they've found – these
are very good ways to measure what they're learning and make your adjustments
as you go along.