Educational Philosophy

I have taught I a variety of educational settings- alternative schools, detention centers, public and charter schools, co-op schools, college, etc.… My students’ ages range from one to sixty years old. With every learner in every setting, I hold the premise that everybody has the desire and ability to learn. This simple mantra I attribute to one of my far-off mentor teachers (we have yet to meet one another), Ms. Marva Collins. When I decided to become a teacher, I dove into learning her paradigm while carving out my own. To be honest, I am still sharpening my skills because just as we tell students, learning is a life long process. With every teaching experience, I myself learn and develop as a teacher. I am a proponent of learning your students. In this day-in-age, people are exposed to a plethora of ideas and concepts; this creates a variation of interests and layers in a person.

Much of the instruction ER implements is driven by discovery because life is an adventure in self-discovery. ER is also a proponent of wholistic learning; we learn best when we can relate content and skills to our whole selves. We instruct students to ask questions such as “How can knowledge of elements affect my health?” or “For what purpose did the Moors develop algorithms and algebraic equations?” In this “Age of Aquarius” young learners naturally ask the question why, and are considered defiant. I welcome open exploration. However, we also know the importance of limits and boundaries; therefore ER incorporates instruction in self-discipline, focus, and organization during all of our lessons.

As the founder of ER, I attribute my love for learning and teaching to my family- my mother studied mathematics and education; my aunt taught elementary school in New York for over 20 years. Both of my parents were top scholars in high school, and expected no less from my siblings and myself. I am grateful for this early training because it has given me a platform to build my teaching paradigm. Truth, knowledge, critical thought, and self-discipline are the hallmarks of a good scholar and a progressive mind.

On Literacy Instruction

Literacy is the basis of almost all learning in today's society. In math, students read word problems; in science, students read articles and write reports based on their scientific discoveries. In social studies (history, civics, geography, etc...), students are reading both informational text and literary works to give context to the concepts being taught in class. With such an emphasis on text-based instruction, imagine how the struggling reader and writer feels throughout the school day. They often have a hard time keeping up with lectures or do not gain meaning or make growth from the learning activities because they have a hard time comprehending the very text that unlocks the key concepts of a subject area. And often we see that students that struggle with reading have behavioral issues in class; I see it as a way to distract attention from their reading difficulties. The older a child gets, the more defensive they become about their reading struggles.

EtymologyRules recognizes the importance of literacy instruction and the power of literacy overall. It can help students with academic achievement as well as self-esteem, which are two critical areas for middle and high school students in the DC metropolitan area. Oral language, word knowledge, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension are all parts of the "literacy braid" (Bear et. al, 2016) that are required for students to be good readers. ER places a particular emphasis on word knowledge and word consciousness because words are the basis of reading and writing, and we as a society could stand to improve our understanding of and relationship with with words. To this end, we seek to support children in building their critical thinking and reading skills and by giving them the tools and vocabulary to access and express information, feelings, and ideas with great clarity and ease.