I would like to honor Alicia Mehraban, a science teacher in Dublin City Schools. She began teaching in 1971 but over the years took eight years off to be mommy. She has taught science in grades six through nine but it currently teaching seventh grade. She says, “My greatest pleasure (in teaching) is interacting with young people and learning from them. They keep me humble and current. I have fun! I laugh out loud with my students everyday. Even though I can have the same schedule, every day and every class is different and never boring.”
I have the opportunity to be with Mrs. Mehraban twice a week when I support one of my ELL students in her classroom. I have been witness to the professionalism and respect she exudes with her students. What I love most about Mrs. Mehraban is that she puts the students in charge of their own learning. They have an agenda, which she reviews at the beginning of the period then off they go to work. She is actively monitoring the class and available for help always.
One day a student asked her a question during a test. They didn’t remember what something meant and instead of her saying, just guess or try your best; she said they could look at their notes then come back the next day to answer the question. She wants them to learn not be penalized for not knowing. This is a powerful message that would be great to hear from other teachers…let’s learn not penalize.
Mrs. Mehraban has seen education change over the years. She said, “when I started teaching, assessment was for evaluating students; now it is for evaluating student understanding so teachers can adjust instruction. The focus has moved from the student’s grade to the student’s level of understanding.”
We can all learn from Mrs. Mehraban – we need to put our students first in learning!