I had the pleasure of working with Jen and her 6th-grade son, Zac, on a challenge that many middle schoolers face - becoming a skilled writer!
Meet Mr. Stella: Learning Partner Q&A
Mr. Stella started his teaching career as a wrestling coach for high school and college students. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to become an elementary school teacher too!
Tell us a little bit about your background as an educator:
When I first started teaching I became a preschool teacher for one year and then I took a first-grade teacher position in the city of Buffalo, New York. I taught at this amazing school for 5 years and during that time I continued to coach youth wrestling. Two years ago I took a position at the elementary school that I went to as a child. For the past two years, I have been teaching third grade and I am currently the wrestling coach at the high school.
Do you have a philosophy as an educator?
I believe that kids, no matter what age they are, need someone to be real with them. They need healthy relationships with their teachers so they can open up and be their best selves. When trust between a student and teacher has been established, then the possibilities of learning are endless. Students need to create their own learning with the help of their teacher. It is the teacher's job to create a safe learning environment for all the students in their classroom. This is done by building trusting relationships with one another.
What were you like as a student?
I was a terror as a child! 😂 I rarely followed the rules and spent my time pushing the limits. But there were a handful of teachers that guided me to make better choices and as a result, I became a better person. Without them, I would not be the person or the teacher I am today. That’s why I came back to my home district to make a positive impact on the students like those teachers had done for me.
What do you enjoy most about being a Learning Partner?
Working with kids from all different grade levels is really cool! It helps me to be a better teacher because I have to teach myself more to help every child I work with. We can also do things differently than in a traditional classroom and that makes learning fun!
If you could take the students on a field trip anywhere, where would you take them?
Disney World! Because it would be fun, and I’d find ways to make it super educational without my students even knowing!
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Mrs. Bluman...because she never gave up on me.
Andrew’s favorites, when he was a kid:
- Book: Goosebumps
- TV Show: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Hobby: Sports (especially Football and Wrestling)
- Animal: Big Cats (Lions, Tigers, Cheetahs)
- What did you want to be when you grew up? I wasn’t sure, but I am happy with how it turned out!