Suzanne J. Best Portnoy

I believe that learning never ends. There is no such thing as finishing one’s education because life changes constantly and one must learn to adapt to new situations. There will always be something new to learn or something old to learn more about. This is what I try to instill in my students.

I believe in teaching children self-discipline and responsibility. I let my students know it is OK to try something new and to make mistakes for that is how we learn. I implement hands on experiences for them. I want them to see, touch, hear and smell each new experience. I teach them to see each new experience as something exciting to be embraced, not something frightening to be wary of.

I believe every child is capable of learning if given the right environment and enough encouragement and support. Education should be as individualized as possible. Each child has his or her own way of learning and learns at his or her own pace. It is up to the educator to find the correct mix of learning/teaching style and timing in order to meet each child at his or her level and help him or her achieve his or her potential. I also believe it takes a team to work for the benefit of the child. The teacher /student/parent team working together is essential for the success of the child. Further, I believe in holding high expectations for all the children in my class. I believe if I expect great things, I will see great things. The only thing sadder than a child who has given up on learning, is a teacher who has given up on that child.

My students know I am there for them, listening with an objective ear. They know I do not judge. I guide them in making decisions that will affect their young lives. I am fair but firm and always ready to share a smile. My students know they are safe in the environment I build for them. They feel free to explore and to question, to see things from different angles. I want them to learn to work together and to see things from each other’s point of view.

This is my idea of education. To not just teach the basics, however important they are, but to teach children to strive to learn on their own. I teach them to love learning, just as I was taught to love learning.