Although things have been crazy this year, and not even just at school, there is still a Teacher of the Year to celebrate. This year, the elected educator is Mrs. Carolyn Lebowitz.
Q: What do you teach? How long have you taught at GW?
A: I teach 8th Grade ELA and I have been so lucky to work at GW for the last 9 years.
Q: Have you taught any other grades or subjects?
A: When I first started at GW, I taught 6th and 7th grade ELA as a support teacher where I met wonderful teachers who I admire and learned quite a bit from.
Q: Why did you become a teacher?
A: Being a teacher was a lifelong dream for me. I started college in the evenings while working full time so it took a bit longer than usual, but better late than never, I always say.
Q: What’s your favorite project to work on with your students?
A: I love any project where I really get to see who my students are and allow them the freedom to express themselves. We do a movie poster for The Outsiders where students recast the original movie for a current-day version. I love nothing more than when my students have a concept that is outside-the-box and I see how they bring their fabulous ideas to life while adhering to the project itself. I have learned so much about anime, music, and artistic ability by allowing my students to express their best selves. I equally love our Fahrenheit 451 projects for the same reasons. Students have written and performed songs, skits, etc. It really is amazing to watch.
Q: What do you like to do outside of school?
A: Outside of school, I love to cook for my family, shop, and go out for Mexican food with my daughter and binge-watch favorite shows with my husband.
Q: Did you have a favorite subject in school? What were you like as a student?
A: Well, I would have to say English. Not just because I teach it, but because writing has always come easy to me and I love to read. It definitely wouldn’t be math – (I’m really, really bad at that I’m sorry to say). I was a decent student. Not exceptional, but I really did care about what I was doing.
Q: What frustrates you the most as a teacher?
A: Hmmm – I guess the most frustrating thing is time – especially when my students are really engaged in a lesson, novel, or project. It’s frustrating when we’re in the middle of something and that bell rings – lol.
Q: What do you think are the most important skills for being a teacher?
A: Well, of course knowing your subject matter well and being able to provide the most effective lessons possible is extremely important. But I really do think the most important skills are being able to “hear” your students, connect with them, be open, be flexible, and don’t be afraid to laugh with your students and at yourself.
Q: What do you hope your students learn from you?
A: At the risk of sounding cliche’, I really do hope I am an example of being kind, accepting, and open-minded with each other. I also hope they learn it is OK to make mistakes, to learn from them, and above all, laugh.
Q: What makes you happiest?
A: I am happiest when my family is happy.