My name is Rachel, and I was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia or "P-town" as some would say. I recently moved to the Virginia Beach area and absolutely love it! The pace of life is much slower and incredibly laid back compared to what I'm used to. In 2005, I graduated from Radford University with a B.S in Psychology and am currently pursuing an M.S in Elementary Education PreK-6. I've been a nanny to three wonderful children ages seven and under for two years. Their father, who recently passed away, was a Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He always spoke of the fulfillment he received through teaching. Ultimately, his influence and the influence of his children led me to this profession. Aside from school and work, I've learned the importance of relationships so I spend most of my time with people I care about. I love reggae, playing the piano, old Sinbad standup, skydiving, and travel. Several years ago I trekked through Europe with some girlfriends until I was completely broke...I recommend it to anyone.
My personal philosophy of education stems from both my experiences in high school and my mother. I was homeschooled until the eighth grade and completed the rest of my schooling in the public school system. To this day, I applaud my mother for doing a phenomenal job educating my brothers and I. Sean and I were extremely ADD, where my youngest brother, Chris, could've read in the center of a racetrack without distraction. My mother taught us each, individually, using methods catered to our various learning styles. We saw early on that I required a multi-sensory approach in learning. Anything and everything that could be taught using sight, sound, touch etc...was beneficial. The repetition of receiving the same information in different formats sky rocketed my level of comprehension. Mother also had the difficult task of conquering my fidgeting problem. She was aware that I had to be mobile or I'd zone out. Hence, interactive activities were incorporated that required me to move about the room. We would do relay races using phonic flashcards, or learned fractions while baking a cake. Any positive behavior was consistently acknowledged to keep me encouraged and engaged. Though Chris, the youngest brother didn't require such measures, he thoroughly enjoyed being a part of them. I'm aware this 3 to 1 ratio was unrealistic versus the typical classroom setting. However, mother's methods (with some assistance from Adderall) were key in equipping me to survive any setting. Once I reached high school those methods were tested. Teachers like my mother were few and far between. But I relied on my strong foundation and other learning techniques to adapt and succeed.
That being said, I think it is absolutely imperative to teach for the masses. Particularly in today’s inclusive classroom, teachers need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each student and be able to facilitate those individual needs. Offering a blanket approach, but making minor adjustments to cater to different learning styles is important. It demonstrates to the student that they too can be part of a group without feeling left behind. By incorporating varied approaches a student has multiple opportunities to comprehend the material. I would bring what's being taught to life, whether it's creating a play around a story, monitoring the growth of vegetables in the classroom, or playing arithmatic bingo. Integrating interactive ways of learning provides a fun environment where a student feels included and safe to learn.