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Contributing Editor: Michelle Gill – Director of Consulting and Certification

In this issue, we celebrate the art of teaching. We honor the way educators have braved a worldwide pandemic, myriad online platforms, and in-person, hybrid, and concurrent teaching—all while learning a toolbox of new skills they never asked to become experts in. It was not easy. It was not perfect. It was not what anyone wanted. Yet, there is much to celebrate.

We’ll hear from educators Holly Hodges, Elizabeth Korab, and Debra Berndt, who each share perspectives about how teachers and schools found success amidst the challenges of the last year. Jennifer Hedrington, 2021 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, illustrates what makes a good teacher be a great one. Principal Terry Phillips describes the impact experienced teachers make in their school communities, and author and Center for Responsive Schools co-founder Chip Wood writes in praise of teachers past and present. In our “From the SEL Notebook” feature, Dr. Hedy Teglasi and Kelsey McCurdy of the University of Maryland’s Temperament and Narratives Lab discuss their research on teachers’ stories from the pandemic and what they revealed about what it means to be a teacher.

As you explore the articles and related downloadable content, we hope you’ll be reminded of educators you know who have created the conditions for academic, social, and emotional learning to thrive, and join us in celebrating them this month, and beyond.

Articles in this Issue:

Adapt, Adjust, Achieve: Finding Success in an Impossible Situation

You don’t need me to tell you how difficult this year has been. Teachers have had a front-row seat to the changes, unease, and insecurity that this global pandemic has caused. One day, we’re teaching in our comfortable classrooms, following a familiar routine. The next day, we’re at home, wondering how we would be able…

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Continuing Responsive Classroom Strategies and Persevering

When the pandemic began in March 2020, it would have been easy for our teachers and support staff of Birchwood Elementary School to give up on many of the positive pedagogical strategies used in classrooms. But it was clear to us that we needed to find ways to keep alive all of the things we…

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Nurturing a Feeling of Belonging

What is the most important ingredient to a student’s success? Their teacher, of course. As most administrators will tell you, finding the most talented teachers is difficult, but keeping the most talented teachers is even harder. What keeps our teachers doing what they are doing? Finding a professional home where they feel supported and valued….

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In Praise of Teachers and their Teachings

Today we can look back and celebrate many teachers, researchers, and their schools and organizations that have supported and collaborated in the push for developmentally appropriate practices in preschool, elementary school, and middle school. One of the great teachers of the last hundred years, Maya Angelou, often reminded her classes, her audiences, and her readers…

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Who Are Responsive Classroom Educators?

Alaina McCourt received her Responsive Classroom Educator certification in March 2021. She teaches first and second grade at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Alaina was inspired to seek her RC Educator certification to learn more about her own practice, to explore her strengths, and to focus on the “growing edges.” She also wanted…

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