People Schools

St. John School Teacher Profile: Meet Jennifer Berman, Grade 1B Teacher

Jennifer Berman
Jennifer Berman, St. John School 1B Teacher

Can you tell us a little about your background and how long have you been a teacher at St. John School?
This is my first year at St. John School and my fourth year as a teacher.  I am originally from Boston, went to college in Connecticut where I received a degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish then returned to Boston to attend graduate school at Lesley University. During graduate school, I was an Associate Teacher in grades three and six at Belmont Day School.   After receiving my Master’s of Education, I taught Kindergarten for the past few years.  I am so thrilled to have made the transition to the St. John School community.

What attracted you to teaching?
Teaching has always been a passion of mine. From elementary school through graduate school, I have had educators who have had such a positive impact on my life.  During high school, I was a Grade One Catechist with my mother at our church, St. Ignatius and a camp counselor at a sports and arts camp for many years. The excitement of the children brought a smile upon my own face. Being able to encourage my students to reach their full potential is so rewarding.  Knowing that I am able to make a difference in a child’s life is what attracted me to teaching.

What is most rewarding about being a teacher?
One of the most rewarding aspects about being a teacher is seeing how my students reach their academic potential and strengthen their social skills.  When students are working on a particular subject area and trying to grasp a topic, it is so rewarding to see when they have their own moment of personal achievement.  It is also wonderful to be able to have students working cooperatively with one another.  Students can learn from one another and being able to communicate effectively leads to a classroom of success!

What is one thing you wish someone had told you before you started your first day of teaching?
Flexibility.  With teaching, the planning component is so important. However, sometimes you will have the most detailed lessons planned and things go astray!  Sometimes a lesson takes longer than originally anticipated and students require more time on a particular content area.  Other times, a class discussion leads the lesson in another direction but these lessons are sometimes some of the most successful ones!  Teaching is such a wonderful profession and each day is filled with something new and exciting.  However, the importance of flexibility in a teacher’s day to day life is something that I wish someone had told me before my first day as a teacher.

What’s the newest, freshest approach you are bringing to your job as a St. John teacher?
Incorporating technology in my lessons is one of the newest and freshest approaches in the classroom.  It is a way for the students to become further engaged in the lessons.  There are so many fabulous online resources that will allow students to grasp certain skills and units of study.  I am looking forward to incorporating iPads into my lessons and have the students use them to explore different units we will cover throughout the school year.

What is the hardest thing about being a teacher?
The hardest part about being a teacher is when you see one of your students become discouraged.  As a teacher, you want each and every one of your students to succeed.  Being there for your students to show them support is a way to help them build up their confidence as they continue to work in school.

What is something your students have taught you?
Throughout the past few years as a teacher, I have become more patient in both my role as a teacher as well as in my personal life. Each student grasps information at various speeds and in different ways.  Having the patience to work with each and every student is a requirement for teachers. My students have confirmed that patience is truly a virtue!

What do you like to do in your free time and why do you enjoy doing it?
Family and friends are extremely important to me.  During my free time, I look forward to spending time with them.  I also thoroughly enjoy trying out different exercise classes.  Spinning is one of my favorites!  Exercising is so important and it is a time where I am able to collect my thoughts and mentally prepare for the next day!  As much as I enjoy being active, sometimes it is so wonderful to curl up with a good book though!

What’s your favorite funny story about yourself?
Growing up I was involved in various activities.  Ballet and soccer were two that I participated in for the most part.  At each soccer game, my family would be cheering from the sidelines.  However, the soccer games were not high on my level of interest and I would be practicing my ballet moves up and down the field, chasing the butterflies as the soccer ball would roll past me. This went on for years!  Needless to say, I was not the star athlete on those teams but probably had some of the best dance moves on the field!

What was your favorite toy (or game) as a child, and why?
My favorite toy as a child were definitely my Barbie dolls. I would spend hours creating different scenarios for all of my dolls and whenever friends would come over for play dates, we would monopolize our time by the Barbie doll house. Sometimes I would even try to persuade my younger brother to play with my Barbie dolls with me!