2017 Blackboard Award Honoree: Linda Maleh

Linda Maleh; photo by Karen Haberberg Photography

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2017 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Linda Maleh
Grades 3-4, Students with Language-Based Learning Disabilities
The Shefa School

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as a teacher.

Working with students who have language-based learning disabilities, my greatest joy as a teacher is getting the opportunity to watch the light bulb go off in my students. Seeing students, who have not experienced much success in a previous school environment, unlock the world of learning and develop a thirst for learning, is the greatest gift I could give.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

This year, my students participated in a culmination ceremony when they finished learning a chapter of the bible in Judaic Studies class. Each pair of students was tasked to come up with way to demonstrate their understanding of a portion of the chapter. The students were amazing at creating their movies, puppet shows, posters, and 3D models. Even more so, these students, who in the past were too afraid to read aloud or even stand up in front of their classrooms, confidently got up in front of peers and teachers to present their projects.

Elizabeth Willen of the Hechinger Report, Linda Maleh, and Jonathan Moore of Family Media at the 2017 Blackboard Awards. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein

Over the course of your career, what do you consider your greatest accomplishments?

[Our school serves families across the Jewish spectrum, and focuses on children with language-based learning disabilities]. Joining the Shefa School from its inception has been one of my greatest accomplishments. As a founding teacher, there were a lot of decisions we had to make that we knew would shape the school for years to come. Every routine, procedure, and practice had to be well thought out… We worked extremely hard that first year to create a positive culture of learning, respect, and inclusiveness that is embedded in our school today.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

My job is to help students feel confident in themselves and their abilities and to recognize that they possess many strengths. When this happens, when students express that they are excited to learn something, or can’t wait for the next Judaic Studies, reading, or writing class, I know that I am doing my job well.