Educator Spotlight: Lyndsay Blaisse
Meet Lyndsay Blaisse
What grades do you teach, and/or your title/role? What school, district, or institution do you work for? Location?
I am a fifth grade general education teacher at Pennell Elementary. Pennell is a part of the Penn-Delco School District located in Aston, PA.
Who inspired you to become an educator?
A large part of my inspiration comes from the teachers I had growing up. I have fabulous memories of my math teacher who taught me from fifth through seventh grade, as well as my eighth grade science teacher. Not only did they make learning fun and enjoyable, but I will also never forget the close relationships I formed with these teachers. They truly showed me the positive impact a teacher can have on their students.
What motivates you?
For me, it is the “ah-ha!” moments that I see students have firsthand. There is nothing comparable to seeing the joy on a student’s face as the puzzle pieces of a challenging math problem click into place or the feeling of excitement in a classroom as you reach the long-awaited climax of a read-aloud story. It is the moments when students are fully engaged in their learning and are excited to be challenged that make every day worth it. Watching a student conquer their goals, big or small, is truly a huge motivation!
What advice would you give to your first-year teacher self?
Don’t be afraid to get involved in school activities, events, and committees! Making meaningful connections with colleagues and students happens inside, but also outside, of the classroom. It is fun to see students in a different environment, and joining clubs and committees can give you a chance to see all sides of your students!
What do you wish more people knew about being an educator?
I wish more people knew the importance of giving students a voice. I am constantly amazed by the incredible pieces of wisdom my students share with me and one another daily. I do not think students, especially at an elementary level, are given enough credit for what they are capable of. When faced with challenges, tough questions, and critical thinking questions, they truly rise to the occasion. There is so much grit, perseverance, and persistence shown in my classroom every day.
What do you love most about Bridges curriculum/math apps/MLC?
I absolutely love the collaboration required of students and all the engaging components that make up our math block. I am a huge fan that every single day there are different math investigations and challenges that students have to work through, but also that these challenges also build on previous lessons. My class loves when characters and problem string stories come back around, and they can reminisce about past problems. I also love starting our day with Number Corner and the activities that kick off our morning. These Number Corner activities weave together so many math skills but are so engaging the students do not even realize they are working through complex problems!
What do you love most about working with students?
I love learning how my students work best and watching them showcase their strategies to others. Year after year, I am blown away by the variety of ways students tackle complex math problems—way different than what I learned years ago in math class! It is fun to have students compare work, try different approaches and strategies, and ultimately find what works best for each student. I love when students click on a strategy that makes them feel confident in math class. Currently, it has been so rewarding to watch students conquer ratio tables and make so many different connections within them.
What’s your math story? In other words, how do you feel about math and why?
Throughout my life, I have had a love-and-hate relationship with math. In elementary school, math came easy to me, and I enjoyed solving problems and tackling challenges. In high school, math grew to be more difficult, and I no longer enjoyed math classes and did not want to pursue any college major that required numerous math courses. It wasn’t until I became a math teacher and was exposed to more ways of solving math problems that I was able to enjoy math again. Fifth grade covers some of the more challenging elementary math topics, and having to relearn the content in order to be able to teach it to others really helped me conquer my dislike of math. Math is now my favorite subject to teach and my favorite part of every school day!
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