Hi, I'm Manisha!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Manisha (CEO/founder) is a Brooklyn-based learning specialist and entrepreneur. She has taught thousands of students from PreK to Gray in 15 subjects ranging from music to math - from Paris to the Palestinian territories. Manisha founded CottageClass out of a fundamental belief that learning should be a joyful experience for teachers, parents and especially kids. Manisha teaches social entrepreneurship on CottageClass and she loves to learn!
What is your philosophy and approach to behavioral management. My basic philosophy can be summed up by when children love to learn, they thrive. Children have an innate love of learning and desire to connect to others. It's our job as teachers to not inhibit this. In a perfect world, the incredible power of a child's innate curiosity and will to grow and develop would simply be allowed to take its natural course. But none of us are perfect beings, and it is a lifelong journey to learn not to impose our personal will on children. A teacher must constantly navigate all the forces working in a child's life - family, historical influences, cultural context. When we talk about allowing the freedom to learn, I think that often teachers make the mistake of enabling children for their own benefit (so they will be well-liked) rather than protecting the best interests of the child and group of children. As a teacher, I view myself as the appointed leader in the community or the sidelines protector (given the situation). Biologically, children are born not fully formed and so it's our job to protect them from other kids, other adults and this crazy, post-industrial world of cars, traffic lights and divisive politics. However, it is absolutely essential not to assert our authority in a way that diminishes their sense of purpose or inhibits their deep sense of autonomy over their life. If done well, as an autonomous being who views themselves as the locus of control, the child sees their own life as not separate but part of a larger community of other people and an entire ecosystem. In that way, freedom and community can co-exist. On a very practical level, children respond to the behavior we model, so we have to set the bar high there. I also find that patience is key. Children respond best to very boring, repetitive positive reinforcement. E.g. "please hold my hand so we can cross the street" repeated 100 times does eventually work. I also try to be respectful of the values of a child's family and their choices of how they wish to raise their child and let this inform my teaching.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My favorite teacher of all time was my acting teacher in Paris, Lesley Chatterley. She taught me that talent is proportional to hard work and it's often the most talented that work the hardest. She gave me the tools that gave me a sense of autonomy over my own success.
Do you have experience working with children with special needs. Yes. I have relatlvely little formal training working with special needs. However, I have taught children and adults with a wide variety social, emotional and learning styles. We live in a complex society with a vary narrow approach to education and there is a small margin of learners who are able to thrive within a traditional education system. I try to give children the tools to understand and adapt to any system within which they find themselves with out sacrificing personal autonomy.
Credentials. Acting certificate (Cours Florent); BA Summa Cum Laude (Brandeis University) Highest Honors French, High Honors American Studies.