When I began teaching at Gideon Hausner 19 years ago, I really didn’t know what to expect. I wondered if I would feel uncomfortable because I wasn’t Jewish. Instead, I found a community of dedicated educators who were warm and welcoming.
I was fortunate enough to work alongside experienced teachers who generously shared their time, their knowledge, and their passion with me. Over the years I gained a greater understanding and respect for Jewish values and realized how integral they were to everything we did. And I got to do all that in a school that embraced the Responsive Classroom model of teaching the whole student, academically and socially. It was a rich learning environment.
Participating in DeLeT this year has provided me with another opportunity to be involved in a rich learning environment. I’ve been able to connect with colleagues, collaborate with other DeLeT mentors, revisit the ideals of Responsive Classroom, and share some of what I have learned with a young and enthusiastic fellow. It’s an opportunity that has allowed me to reflect on my own teaching practices and helped me realize the enormous complexity of what we do.
Many years ago, when DeLeT was just beginning, Laura Lauder [DeLeT’s Founder], who was the parent of one of my students, approached me to ask if I would consider mentoring in the DeLeT program. I didn’t know what DeLeT was, and at that time I didn’t feel I could take on more than I was already doing. Somehow it seems fitting that in my last year of teaching I finally fulfill that request. And as it turns out, participating in the program has helped me continue to grow not only as an educator but also I hope as a person, encouraging me to be more sensitive and thoughtful. What a lovely and unexpected parting gift as I end my teaching career at Hausner.