These Teachers Will Inspire You

Six local educators share their thoughts on risk-taking, equality, life after military service and what they've learned from your kids.

Photo by Skip Brown

Denise Yassine

American history (fifth grade), global perspectives and financial literacy (sixth grade)

Congressional School, Falls Church

Years teaching: 22

●“I want the children to understand that there is more than a single story when it comes to history and the world. We should seek out the other stories and learn them.”

● “If it can be a worksheet or an actual experience, I gravitate to the actual hands-on experience.”

● “In our global perspectives class we learned about the environmental damage caused by single-use plastics, which are an extremely long-lasting derivative of oil. The students came back from lunch and said, ‘We use plastic spork and straw packets wrapped in plastic every day.’ Then they did the math to find out how many of those the school goes through on a daily basis. Thus began our service-learning campaign to educate ourselves, make changes within our own community and then educate the broader community about plastic pollution.”

● “One of the big symbols in my classroom is the golden shovel. We always look for ways to dig deeper. We don’t want to just skim the surface.”

● “Feedback is not my favorite word. I like feed during and feed forward. I see my role as that of a coach, facilitator and mentor, not judge.”

● “I want the students to be motivated by their deep learning. What you know is not as important as what you do with what you know.”

● “When we learn about slavery, we talk about the idea of those in power treating those with less power as less than. I ask the students to translate that understanding to how they treat each other at recess.”

● “Ubuntu [an African humanist philosophy] means ‘I am because we are’—and how can I be happy if others are sad? This is a guiding principle in much of what we learn and do.”

● “A textbook curriculum is not the end. It’s only the beginning.”

–Madelyn Rosenberg

Categories: Education