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Archive for the ‘Honored Educators’ Category

indexCatherine teaches 6th grade English at M. Marcus Kiley Middle School in Springfield, MA.  She loves her job and adores the children. She tries to prepare them for life with an open minded, sociological, and democratic education.

As one of this year’s Pioneer Valley Teachers of Excellence Awards recipients, we asked her the following questions: (more…)

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kauffmanwinnersPaulette  is a reading and ESL teacher for grades K-6 at Conway Grammar School.  She works with a wonderful team of educators and has a supportive community.

As one of this year’s Pioneer Valley Teachers of Excellence Awards recipients, we asked her the following questions: (more…)

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John Kislo with studentsJosh is an Instructor/Chef at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton and a  graduate of Northampton High School, Class of 1977.   He himself earned a Culinary Arts Certificate from Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in 1979 as well as a Bachelor of Science in Education/Occupational Education at Westfield State University in 1999.  He’s been a Culinary Arts Instructor since February of 1988.  Here are his responses to a few questions  (more…)

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A force in my own life, Maya Angelou reminded us, as Michelle Obama said in her recent eulogy, “that we must each find our own voice, decide our own value, and then announce it to the world with all the pride and joy that is our birthright as members of the human race.” (more…)

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Happy, Magical New Years

Groverweb2On the eve of this New Year, I’d like to thank you for your service to the young people in our region, who can never have too many loving and supportive adults in their lives.  Henry David Thoreau writes, “To affect the quality of the day is the highest of the arts.”   You have the privilege and the challenge of affecting the quality of students’ lives every day with the magic — and hard work — of learning and the promise of many Happy New Years.

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We Thank You

choose_btm_04Over this long weekend that celebrates Thanksgiving, we want to thank our readers for their work educating young people.   Some, unaware of the dedication and determination it takes to be effective teachers, may joke about the number of days off in a school calendar.  From 30+ years of  teaching, I know that these breaks are needed to refresh ourselves, renew our energy, and reflect on our practice.

Practice teaching is not just a 6 or 8 week assignment but a lifetime of daily caring for students, believing in their potential, and cultivating their young minds.  Angela Duckworth says in the PBS TED Talks Education special that “Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”  Lasting success in any field takes grit and determination for long-term goals, and often teachers never know how their work affects students’ futures.

So we thank you and hope you enjoy these precious moments with family and friends.  We’ll be here for you again on Monday to support you in your practice.

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skd283128sdcNew York Time’s writer Michael Sokolove recently returned to his alma mater, Truman High, to write, “The Real-Life ‘Glee’ in Levittstown, Pa.”   Central to the article is Lou Volpe, his former teacher who directed an outstanding drama program in an otherwise unremarkable town.  The article holds lessons for all teachers who want to make a real impact on students.

As Volpe retires after more than 40 years of teaching, the words of former students help define effective teaching.  For example, Volpe had applauded Sokolove’s writing as a student by simply asking,  “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a good writer?” and making Sokolove aware of his talents beyond the athletic field.  Volpe calls Mariela Castillo, who is challenged by a working class background and remedial classes attributed to childhood leukemia, one of his most talented actresses.  Of him she says:  “In theater, everything is staged and organized. It goes in order and fits together. I’ve seen how Mr. Volpe is so brilliant at that, and it’s helped me organize my life in the same way.”

Of Volpe’s relationship with students, Sokolove writes, “At a certain moment, he knew them better than they knew themselves. That is what gifted, intuitive teachers do. What they say doesn’t have to be that profound — just well timed and well aimed. Their words go to a place that no other teacher, and no parent, has touched.” As the article reveals, Volpe’s gifts are hard won through self-motivated professional development, self-exploration, and recognition of students’ potential.  Read entire article.

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