Elisha Ann Wins A 2013 Blackboard Award For Teachers

Tell us about some of the key joys and challenges of being a third grade teacher. 

As a third grade teacher, I watch students come in at the beginning of the year, some still learning to tie their shoelaces; by the end of the year, they can participate in social studies debates and do long division. I love watching students grow their minds as they become stronger readers, writers, and mathematicians throughout the year, too. Sometimes, I want to just want to “let things go,” but as I teach more, I realize that being firm with students on deadlines and responsibilities helps them learn responsibility faster and prepares them down the line.

Tell us about any special projects or initiatives you are most proud of this year. 

This year, I spent copious amounts of time with my grade level team (Jenny Florsheim, Jaclyn Acker, Tara Goldsmith, and Kaitlin McCalley) revamping our curriculum across all subjects to align to the new Common Core Standards. With the support of our administration and coach—Dina Ercolano, Darryl Alhadeff, and Janice Liao—I am amazed with the sheer amount of curriculum we have revised and created. I am so thankful to work with incredibly intelligent and hardworking colleagues.

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

I personally think that teaching in New York City is an accomplishment in and of itself! Originally from the northern suburbs of Philadelphia, I made a deliberate move to NYC to start teaching immediately after college. I wanted to be in a place where education was debated, diverse, thriving, living, and changing.

What drives you and keeps you motivated to continue your hard work as a teacher on a daily basis?

Honestly, I don’t know. I think it is a combination of factors. First, nerdy as it may be, I have always loved school and learning. Second, I think I am drawn to how students and people in general respond to thought-out teaching and, in contrast, random teachable moments. When students say, “Oh, that’s so cool,” it drives me to keep finding more ways to help make things click in their minds. Finally, I don’t think about this every day, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I have a conviction that education is the foundation of society that can make it or break its success.

For more information about the Blackboard Awards, visit blackboardawards.com