Hi, I'm Ms. Tara!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I presently co-supervise a mixed-age aftercare group at an Upper East Side school, and work as a substitute teacher mostly for kindergarten and nursery age groups. My past experience working with children includes my volunteership with the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center, where I helped with various educational programs and enjoyed helping children learn to care for and appreciate the natural world, my years as a faculty member for Kaplan Test Prep, where I conducted practice exams and gave students constructive feedback and guidance for essay writing, and an internship with a Lower East Side gallery/arts education center which held workshops for children.
What's your philosophy on what it means to be a great teacher? A love of the material and an eye for teachable moments that come up organically. A sense of wonder. Compassion and respect for the students- a willingness to see each of them, listen to them, learn from them. Recognizing the importance of empathy building, especially in the early stages which set the foundation for how the children relate to each other and to school in the coming years.
Who was your favorite teacher and why? I have had many wonderful teachers. In my current work, in which most of my kids are in early childhood, I very often think of my nursery school teachers Miss Sara and Miss Noori. They provided a very well-rounded and joyous learning/playing environment, and managed to make us all feel safe, seen and cared for even though we were a fairly large group. I can still remember a lot of the classroom songs and dances and getting excited for certain verses or moves that were especially fun, and I am so happy now when I get to bring that experience to children and see it from the teacher’s perspective.
What is your philosophy on and approach to behavioral management? "
Patience is key. One must be willing to see the good qualities in each child and appeal to those strengths, and have that at heart even in moments when sternness is called for. When it comes to conflict between students, I do my best to treat all parties involved as deserving of compassion and guidance and the understanding that they are still learning. I always do my best to facilitate dialogue between/among those involved and help them work through it together.
Do you have experience working with children with special needs? If so, please specify. Yes, I have worked with a few children with autism, ADHD, OCD and sensory issues (such as touch sensitivity).
Are there any projects you’ve done (related or unrelated to teaching) that you’d like to share? I started a terrace garden with my mixed age aftercare group. It has been a wonderful sensory learning activity that brings everyone together and lets them experience the rhythm of the seasons. I actually have many years of experience with growing various edibles and growing, drying and storing culinary herbs, and it was a great joy to share this with the kids. We grew and ate delicious garden greens, and hang dried our garden herbs and then seasoned our food with them. Yum!
Credentials: Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, CPR, AED and First Aid Certificate.