Interview with 2nd Grade Teacher, Arora Maravich
Our latest interview features Arora Maravich. Arora is a second grade teacher who loves to help her students learn in their most effective way. Each child is different, with different skill sets, interests, and learning styles. In her classroom, Arora uses multiple forms of engagement to give each of her students the opportunity to thrive. She also recognizes the benefits of using paper in the classroom, which can assist in cognitive development.
Read the interview below to learn more about Arora!
Tell us a little about yourself.
“I am a second grade teacher at a charter school in Delaware. I have also taught 7th and 8th grade special education, I have taught a high school English summer course in Philadelphia, and have served as a reading interventionist in Delaware and North Carolina in Kindergarten through fifth grade.”
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
“I fell into teaching by accident. I did not receive an undergraduate degree in education, and had no intention of going into the education field. After I graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in European Studies, I decided to take a year off before going to grad school to pursue a career in political science. During this year, I served as a member of AmeriCorps Delaware, and was trained and placed as a reading interventionist by the Reading Assist Institute. I worked with 6 first, second, and third graders and absolutely fell in love with teaching. After that year, I did go to Duke University Graduate School to study religious studies, but soon decided to leave and pursue teaching. I joined Teach for America, and was able to teach, get my certifications, and pursue my masters in teaching at the same time.”
Arora used some of the printables from our Teacher Resources Page to decorate her virtual classroom. Check it out here!
What is your teaching philosophy?
“I believe in mutli-sensory instruction, because I believe all students learn differently and have different strengths. Using multiple forms of engagement not only allows for the opportunity for students to learn in their own most effective way, it also allows for a more lasting and meaningful cognitive mapping of the learned material. When the brain is engaged in an activity that combines auditory, visual, and tactical/kinesthetic learning, the material is much more likely to stick. Multi-sensory learning is also more inclusive, because it may positively impact students with special needs, students that are English language learners, and students that just don’t learn in the most traditional ways.”
What do you like best about teaching?
“The connections with my students are the best, but I also genuinely get excited when they are excited about a topic. I always loved being a student, and I want to help spark that lasting connection to learning in my students. They push me to be constantly adapting and innovating, and nobody can make me laugh more than a 7 year-old can!”
How important is crafting in your lessons?
“Crafting is essential! Teaching virtually has really highlighted how important those hands on activities are. Having crafting moments inspires interest and creativity, is therapeutic, makes the students feel proud of something they made, and can serve as a much needed brain blast or brain break! I even had a student make his own papier-mâché model of the solar system because he was so inspired by our science lessons. He was so excited to share with the class, and the class was so supportive and encouraging of his hard work! These moments help to build a strong classroom culture, even virtually.”
Where do you find your inspiration for your projects/creations in your classroom?
“I find inspiration from various internet sources, including PrintWorks, Teacher Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and YouTube. I also draw on my fellow teachers and from my students for inspiration. I like to ensure that the crafts we do are relevant to what we are learning, or to the time of year.”
With all of the tech options out there to use for education, why choose paper?
“After having the experience of working in both in-person and fully virtual environments, I have come to appreciate the benefit of using paper even more. Technology is often an extremely helpful tool, but it can also be limiting. With my second grade students, I quickly realized how important having the tactical element of using paper is for learning. My students are still learning the rules of reading, developing their writing skills, and beginning to use more advanced addition and subtraction strategies, and paper is absolutely an essential part of that process. I have noticed that my students performed on a whole with less success when they did not have access to or the option to use paper to assist with their learning, as opposed to using purely technological methods.”
What advice would you offer parents or other teachers on ways to keep students motivated to learn?
“Playing on students interests and incorporating them in learning is always a great technique, but it doesn’t always apply, and students still need to learn subjects that don’t intrinsically interest them. The best way to keep them motivated is to make them feel invested in their own learning. Students that practice acknowledging their own strengths and needs in learning can engage in making their own learning goals and plans to reach those goals. Those students will feel motivated when they are able to track their own progress, and celebrate every little victory. Students can make their own progress graphs and track their own growth. It makes them feel in charge of their own learning.”
For more from Arora, check out these guest blogs that she wrote for us!
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