This school year’s emphasis on Goal II, specifically the theme of joyful learning, resonates with our newest faculty and staff members. They shared their thoughts on the importance of achieving this goal and how they’re seeking to bring joyful learning into their classrooms, roles, and lives.
Adamaris Marcial, Middle School Spanish Teacher: “I feel like joyful learning is so much easier to SEE than it is to explain, so I will tell you what I expect to see in a classroom where joyful learning is taking place...every student is on task and actively participating. The room could be quiet with independent work. The room could have noise-level appropriate chatter with group work. Regardless of what kind of work is happening, everyone is participating. Students are eager and intrinsically motivated. They’re asking questions, taking risks. They’re ENJOYING the learning process--it doesn’t feel like a chore to them. And it doesn’t feel like pulling teeth for you (the educator). They don’t feel like they have to do the work, they WANT to do the work.”
Juliette Firla, Middle School English Teacher: “I want to ensure each of my girls not only learn reading and writing skills, but also gain a love for the material. I want my students to see themselves in the novels they read, find a topic to write on that they are passionate about, and excel academically and mentally in my classroom.”
Ellen Spillane, Upper School Math Teacher: “Knowledge is not learned, but rather it is created. Joyful learning takes place when students are able to interact and grapple with new or old concepts to understand and apply them. It involves exploration and real-life application, especially in a math classroom. While learning the mathematical concepts are important, I aspire to promote critical thinking and problem solving skills that apply to broader concepts throughout the world. At the end of the day, I want to challenge my students to become their best selves, and in the process, cultivate a life-long love of learning.”
Michelle Antenucci, Lower School Theology Teacher: “Joyful learning in my theology classroom means to teach in a place of silence and cultivate contemplation. It means to give the child an opportunity to slow down, listen to God and allow themselves to wonder in the beauty of God's word and how it fits in their life. One of the parables in the atrium is of a mustard seed so small but the strong established roots will allow it to slowly grow into something beautiful. Just as it takes time for a gardener to grow a garden with lots of tilling, water, sun and love, we are that gardener for our children. To plant the seeds and fill them with the truth and the good by modeling and presenting beautiful works. Joyful learning starts with small sacrifices, planting seeds, spending time in awe, and slowing down which leads to a life of wonder and love for learning.”