- Carroll Connection
This article was originally featured in the 2019-2020 edition of Carroll Connection. In this edition we asked our community members to share their journey before, during, and after Carroll School.
- Kwame Cobblah: Middle School Dean of Students, 7th Grade Team Lead and History Teacher, 1st year at Carroll
- Lizzie Pond: 4th Grade Language & Home Room Teacher, 5th year at Carroll
- Mary Lussier: Lower School Tutor, 13th year at Carroll
Becoming a Teacher
Kwame: I come from a family of educators. Being exposed to that culture and seeing the empathy, caring and the thought that goes into teaching, I grew up admiring that.
Lizzie: I went into Special Education because of my own journey as a person with dyslexia. But also, I honestly don’t believe in general education. What does that even mean? Why is special ed so special? It’s just what every kid needs because everyone’s brain is different.
Lizzie: The two weeks before school started was when our whole team got to think about how we were going to support the kids as best as possible. At my previous school, we had two weeks of training as well. But it was more about content and what you would be teaching and less about setting up your classroom and thinking about the minds that would be coming in.
Kwame: Coming to Carroll, in contrast to some of my previous schools, I was really shocked at how much involvement that the leadership had in my introduction to the school’s culture. I saw that the leaders take a very hands on approach in the training of new faculty. Instantly, I got this feeling that we’re all in this together.
Mary: It’s such a unique school. There is so much collaboration with your colleagues. People are always ready to help each other. You don’t feel isolated or alone as you do in a public school where you don’t have as much interaction or support from your colleagues.
Growing at Carroll
Mary: Training here is stronger than at my previous school. A huge part of this community is giving everyone the tools that they need. The initial O-G training is huge because it’s at the core of what we do. But then Carroll is really good about providing additional training and continuous learning.
Lizzie: Carroll’s professional development is definitely unique. In the public school, it was all about the standards - you’re looking at the Common Core, you’re digging deep into each of the standards, you’re looking at how your lessons align with the standards. It wasn’t thinking about me professionally. Here, we get trained in so many different things. There are always at least one or two takeaways I can take and apply the next day.
Kwame: The professional development that is embedded into every week is something that I haven’t experienced before. Orton-Gillingham is very complex. Coming in as a new teacher, I was very nervous, like this is something I need to learn before I start. I was reassured that this is a process, that I will be consistently trained in O-G throughout my time here.
Thriving at Carroll
Kwame: In middle school, there were moments that I felt invisible. Being given the agency to give each child what they need, and trying to hold that true, I feel like I have the ability and the encouragement to seek out these students that I see myself in and nurture their identities and skills. That’s my draw to teaching here.
Mary: Seeing how the kids’ journey changes from when they come to us until they leave, that’s what brings me to work each day. Many kids come to us thinking they are not going to be able to learn. Seeing them break through that and making these strides … it’s a great feeling.
Lizzie: Just knowing that the kids that I see every day are getting such a tailored education, that is really what makes me tick. I love working with kids, I love working with teachers and, moving forward, I think about how I can do both at the same time.
WE ASKED: What advice do you have for new Carroll teachers?
Kwame: You are coming to an institution where students are highly valued. Through consistent training, we are given these tools to teach students individually. In touring this school, you can see how committed the faculty and staff are. You can see how happy and confident the students are. It’s a place that is constantly developing and constantly thriving.
Lizzie: Embrace everything. People’s doors are always open. If the lesson the previous day was a total mess, you still have the next day. And no one will come into your classroom with a checklist and say, “You didn’t do this this and this.” Everyone has that common goal but we know that goal isn’t going to be reached every day...it’s a journey.
- Carroll Connection 2019-2020