6 Great Teachers

These local educators know a thing or two about kids.

Photo by Michael Ventura

Chidimma “Chidi” Uche

Second-grade teacher
Jamestown Elementary School, Arlington
Years teaching: 5

I would like for all of my children to become expert yogis. They can do yoga to release or to calm down. It’s for them to clear their own minds.

Our children are tremendously stressed. There’s a lot of pressure on them and very little time for them to do things like play, which is so developmentally necessary. Teaching yoga isn’t just about the stretches; it’s the practice of mindfulness that’s important, too.

We have a nature nook. This is a real pufferfish. This is a moose skull. Once, the younger sister of one of my students found an abandoned wasp’s nest and gave it to me for our nature nook. I forgot it in the copy room, and there was an email: “Did someone forget a wasp’s nest on the copy machine?”

We also have a peace-out corner. It’s not punitive nor consequential; a child chooses to go there. A lot of times they’re upset about something—if a divorce is happening at home or a sibling was mean to them at breakfast. Sometimes I’ll put a tissue box in there and let them have their moment.

One of my favorite days is the day we come back from winter break. They are all full of hugs and they’ve grown so much.

In our hearts, we know they’re going to be okay. But some people don’t believe it will happen without constant micromanaging.

A big focus we had this year was making them feel proud of their writing. We had a huge publishing party for a project we did with Randolph Elementary called Read Across Arlington. The kids publish their own e-books. That’s the whole idea, that they’re a published author. It’s beautiful.

Children are very overbooked. They have so many tremendous expectations upon them. To just stop and listen to them is all they need sometimes.

–Madelyn Rosenberg

Categories: Education