Say Hello to Emily Greenstadt, 2nd Grade Teacher at Bullis Charter School, Los Altos
SVT: Is there something that or a favorite teacher who inspired you to become a teacher?
EG: My mother was a kindergarten teacher for 37 years, and her patience and dedication were a constant influence. She is, and always will be, my favorite teacher! My younger brother is also a huge inspiration. He has Down syndrome, and his entire life has been a blessing to me in so many ways. I owe a lot of my qualities, successes, and personal motivation to him, as he has been such a model of courage, authenticity, and perseverance throughout my life.
SVT: What do you like most about being a teacher?
EG: I love my bond with my students. I am so grateful to spend so many hours with them every week, as I get to witness their growth and triumphs firsthand. Second graders are also adorably funny and endearing. It’s amazing how they can quickly shift my mood into such a state of amused delight!
SVT: How do you like to establish rapport with your students?
EG: The most important thing to me is that we build respect, trust, and empathy for one another. In order to do that, I make time each day for the kids to share about their latest happenings, interests, and experiences outside of school. As the teacher, I also share a great deal with them about my personal life so that they know I value them enough to be open with them, and to also show them that I am a human being that goes through life’s joys and challenges. Our classroom community is built on celebrating one another’s unique talents, interests, and personalities, and this in turn breeds the trust and mutual respect which are vital for a strong classroom community.
SVT: What do you see as the role of the teacher in the classroom and learning process?
EG: First and foremost, I am the caring, safe, reliable adult that they can count on to always have their best interest at heart. I set very clear boundaries and expectations in my classroom so that they can all feel comfortable in knowing where the lines are drawn, and what they can do to succeed. I make sure to balance hard work with time for fun. My favorite thing to do is read a great book aloud to them as a reward for their mental focus and dedication to learning. I often choose classics like Roald Dahl books that I know will make them giggle–I never get tired of making them smile! At the end of the day, I want them to go home knowing their teacher cares about them, and that school is a place where they can feel safe, learn interesting new skills, and most of all…have fun!
SVT: What have been your most positive teaching experiences?
EG: I have had the privilege of teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders about nutrition, as one of our co-curricular classes here at Bullis. I am very passionate about healthy eating and proper nutrition, which was sparked by my brother’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis. The highlight was having over 50 students join my “Green Monster Challenge” which involved adding spinach and kale to their favorite healthy fruit smoothies. They emailed me pictures from home sipping on green concoctions with huge smiles on their faces! Moms, dads, and siblings even jumped on board. My goal is to get all kids to up their veggie intake and realize the radiant energy (both mental and physical!) that comes from mindful, healthy eating habits.
SVT: When away from school and homework of your own, what interests and hobbies do you enjoy?
EG: I love being active and moving my body to stay fit! This includes everything from running, snowboarding, and playing volleyball, to strength training and hiking. I am currently training for my first half marathon, and my students are helping me stick to my training plan by checking in with me each morning to make sure I got my run in. They asked me to keep a log of my training miles, and each day they look forward to adding up my total mileage as I work toward my goal of running the San Francisco Rock and Roll Half Marathon this April. They are my cheerleaders, and I am so lucky to have their support!
About Emily Greenstadt
Emily was born and raised in the beautiful Southern California coastal town of Palos Verdes Peninsula. She is the oldest of three children and is very close with her sister, Lauren, and her brother, Andrew, who has Down syndrome. Emily received her B.A. in English Literature from UCLA, where she was an active member of Delta Gamma sorority.
Upon graduating in 2007, Emily took on the role of Project Coordinator at the non-profit organization Lupus L.A. She spent over a year and a half leading community outreach projects for lupus patients and their families. She found the public service arena to be very fulfilling but knew that she was meant to work with children. She went on to receive her M.A. in Elementary Education and multiple-subject teaching credential from Stanford University’s Teacher Education Program (STEP) in 201, and joined the BCS team as the 2nd grade associate teacher that fall.
When not in the classroom, Emily can be found snowboarding down the slopes of Mammoth and Tahoe in winter and hitting the beach volleyball courts during the summer. She loves to read, stay active, cook healthy meals, and watch sports (especially college football–go bruins!)
After three incredibly successful years with the 2nd grade team, she cannot wait to return for the 2013-2014 school year!