My name is Bridget Adam and I have been teaching at Boston Collegiate Charter School since I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Special Education degree 10 years ago. I have taught high school and middle school reading, writing and math inclusion and pull-out classes. I am currently in my seventh year teaching 6th grade math.
My greatest personal accomplishments are my two children, Stuart, 5 years old, and Corrina, almost 2 years old. My biggest accomplishment as a teacher would be my award as an Epic Spotlight Teacher in 2011. In this year, my students made incredible progress, and I believe I played a small part in their success. I also feel a great sense of pride when I see students I have taught earn their diplomas from our school.
I became a teacher after working with children with disabilities ranging from Autism to Hurler’s Syndrome, a rare, hereditary disease. I have always enjoyed working one on one with children, either teaching academics or aiding in self-help or social skills. There are many things I love about teaching. I love connecting with students around their academic and personal accomplishments. I enjoy working and collaborating with my colleagues who have the same high expectations as I have for all students.
One of my greatest challenges in teaching is pacing in class. I struggle to determine how long to continue with concepts that my students are struggling on. If it is only a few students struggling, do I move on? What if it is a skill that is necessary for future concepts? Should I go on and address it later? Another challenge I continue to face is getting students to persevere when they encounter a difficult and complex problem.
I am excited and anxious about the transition to the Common Core Standards. I feel I have a strong ability to break down skills for students, but I have a harder time letting kids work on their own and come to their own understanding. I talk a lot. I ask rigorous questions, but wish students would listen to each other and challenge one another. I feel the Common Core encourages group work and problem solving, and this is an area I feel I will have to push myself. Students still need to master skills, and I know that I still need to explicitly teach specific concepts. Last year, I incorporated more visual models and found that strengthening a student’s conceptual understanding first improves their ability to apply the skill in real life situations later on. My goal this year is to achieve a better balance between teacher instruction and student exploration.