6 Great Teachers

These local educators know a thing or two about kids.

Photo by Michael Ventura

Elinor Scully

Head of school (K-8)
The Langley School, McLean
Years as an educator: 28

Kids who are supported in their emotional maturation do better in school. They’re growing not only academically, but also with more confidence in who they are as a person.

You have to create moments to learn who your students are—intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally—and who their families are. This creates trust and impacts learning in a profound way.

If you can get students to feel confident and engaged from the earliest years, you can almost ensure that their high school and college years will be successful.

There is so much joy in a relationship-based learning environment. Last year I saw a girl crying on the last day of school. I thought something had happened so I went over to her. She said: “Summer is soooo long.”

People often think of adolescence as a time full of angst, drama and self-consciousness. But there’s also a real spirit of curiosity and openness to new ideas and experiences. It’s a time that really deserves celebration.

I encourage students to advocate for their ideas starting young. If they want a new water fountain, they write me a note: “We’re hot; we need to be hydrated.” I haven’t yet figured out how to get a vending machine that sells hummus and carrot sticks, but they have me thinking.

Kids today are pushed to do more, earlier. The best advice I give parents is just to slow down and focus on some of the simpler things. But it’s understandably hard to do this, given the pressures to afford children as many enrichment opportunities as possible.

The question we’re always asking is: How do we make sure childhood isn’t getting rushed or hijacked, so that kids can just be kids? You only get to be a third-grader once.

–Madelyn Rosenberg

Categories: Education