Teachers: Kate Thurston, Dawn Sawula
I am currently in my sixteenth year teaching- eight in Springfield, eight here at Pelham. My teaching is very much guided by Alice Walker’s idea that “I imagine teaching as a circle of earnest people sitting down to ask each other meaningful questions. I don’t see it as a handing down of answers.” Community is a very important part of my teaching philosophy. Not only creating a strong, loving, and joyful community in our class, but also helping the children to discover what their rights and responsibilities are as members of various communities throughout their lives. Some of my favorite units of study are Mohandas Gandhi and Satyagraha, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Civil Rights, and Women’s History. Through these units, we explore issues of justice and the ways in which we all have the capacity to be heroes. We will also interweave various service projects into the curriculum. Additionally, we do some fun hands-on and research based Science units including Force and Motion, Soil, a research unit in which we learn about a variety of animals, and an engineering unit. Second grade is a time of major academic and emotional growth, and I love being a part of the journey with my students. We read, we explore, we talk, we do a lot of movement- including handstand Fridays!- and we laugh a lot. We also enjoy some cat stories about my much loved (and MUCH talked about!) cats, Marvin and Bernard. I like to have a structured, productive classroom, but there is always time for silliness and fun!