04/16/2009
Teacher Tribute
Feeling the fervor

Teachers talk about transformation

“It’s like bees swarming around,” says NID teacher Lisa Hantman describing what it’s like in her class right now as students go into full gear on their service-learning project. Lisa, a 3rd grade teacher at McCall Elementary School, and three other teachers describe how their teaching practice has been transformed by their involvement with Need in Deed.

“Many of our students have deep personal issues,” says 4th grade teacher Jasmine Williams, at Logan Elementary, whose students are researching the issue of child abuse.

“These things won’t come out when you’re doing math,” she says. “I have become much more aware of my students. I realize I need to be open, more available to them. I used to feel compelled to get through the material, finish the lesson, prepare for PSSA’s. Now I see how important it is that I be there for them.”

Celeste Rodriguez teaches 7th grade at Stetson Middle School. Her students’ project is focused on healthy girl/boy relationships.

“These are loud kids,” says Celeste. “They’re auditory learners. Through the project they are learning the skills of how to listen to each other. We work in small groups, so they can talk among themselves, work together. They like it and they’re learning. Our benchmark scores have been skyrocketing. If too much time goes by without our working on our project, they’ll ask me: ‘When are going to work on our project?!’”

Amy Gottesman, 5th grade teacher at Grover Washington Jr. Middle School, reflects back on a project her students did on crime her first year in NID’s Teacher Network.

“We were focusing on data analysis," she recalls. "We had a map that showed the incidence of crime in the community, broken down by zip codes. We had to analyze the data and make predictions. I remember it very vividly. We were sitting in a dark room using an overhead projector. The kids were glued to the screen. It prompted the best class discussion; everyone participated.

“They don’t teach this in college – how to create community in your classroom.”

Pictured, top to bottom: teachers Celeste Rodriguez, Jasmine Williams, and Amy Gottesman