First grade teacher Elisa Reddick pats her legs in a rhythm of two pats and a clap on the carpet square. Her class follows suit, patting their legs. She asks, "What is the pattern unit?"
"A, A, B," one of them says. Elisa replies, "That's right!"
The students are reviewing pattern units in math. "I use rhythms and body movements to create repeated patterns that the students can mimic or create on their own," Elisa said.
This is Elisa's first year at Pembroke Hill and so far, she's enjoyed it. "I feel very blessed to be here," she said. "I feel honored to teach here at Pembroke Hill and have my own children here with me."
Elisa came to PHS from the Paideia School in Atlanta where she served as a lead teacher and assistant lower school principal. She received her undergraduate degree in child development from Spelman College and her master's degree in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. She also helped establish a charter school in Indianapolis, Ind.
Elisa said her teaching philosophy is to connect with students as individuals and understand what they like and don't like. "We have goals that we need to accomplish, but we need to know who the students are first, in order to understand their current knowledge base. Then we can direct them to where they need to go."
Elisa is working with her students on addition and the equal sign, and as an extension, talking about equality. "The equal sign opens up a lot of opportunities to talk about equality in different ways. Equality can also mean equitable, getting what you need versus everyone getting the same thing."
Elisa understands that not only is growth in the core subjects important, but also the student's socioemotional development. "I look forward to seeing my students take pride in who they are-their unique skills, talents and abilities. I want them to understand that their best may look different than everyone else's, and they should still take pride in the unique way they learn and grow."
After being on campus only a few months, Elisa said the PHS community has been very welcoming. "I felt like I knew so many people even before my first day of work. So many teachers, staff and families welcomed me in as one of their own."