​​Thaïs Sherell... "Agent of Change"

Teaching philosophy...

Thaïs is a licensed educator and has taught in both public and private schools for over 20 years. She maintains the following licenses from New Jersey's Department of Education: English, Elementary School Teacher in Grades K-5, and Teacher of Students with Disabilities.

The guiding principle in her teaching encompasses the idea that teachers should seek to empower students with the necessary skills to take control of their own learning and enable them to learn holistically while emulating the behaviors they expect their students to acquire.

Each child is unique and needs a caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. It is her desire to help students achieve their fullest potential in these areas by providing a creative learning environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that she believes are conducive to establishing such an environment, (1) the teacher acting as a guide, (2) allowing the child's natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for the learning process of others.

First, teachers should take charge of their own individual development. The activities we are engaged in have a significant impact on our work and students. Rather than view the development of teaching as the mastery of prevailing principals and theories, we must devise our own workable teaching models based on experience. In this, the teacher acts as a guide who promotes the life-long learning process.

Equally important to guided learning is the opportunity for students to study things that are meaningful and relevant to their lives, self-discovery. Developing a curriculum around students’ interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. This can be achieved through the allowance for students to dialogue about the units of study. Provided this opportunity, students will often generate ideas and set goals that enrich activities in a way that were not considered as an option.

Given a level of ownership in the curriculum, students feel respected, empowered and are motivated. They come to respect the learning process of both themselves and others. They work hard and master the skills necessary to keep moving forward in order to reach their goals.