Friday, October 7, 2011


Inspired by my Marine Biology students, MVP Arts
Dedicated to all of my students facing academic challenges; you're all MVPs!!
Okay, MVP’s, we are starting on a journey.  I listened to each of your concerns and will address them throughout the school year.  Now we need to focus on a new topic.  Learning.  Once you walk into my classroom, learning is the main thing.  That does not mean you will be sitting in your seats for 90 minutes listening to me speak nor reading from a textbook.  You will be a part of the teaching and learning process, each and every day.  We will not be focusing upon grades because, in my class, I insist that your scores will be good.  You will work, you will learn.  We will learn together. 
Marine Science is a course of discovery.  Like the hidden gems of the sea that take effort to uncover, so does a person’s talents in the field of science.  In order to fully comprehend the remarkable secrets of the ocean and its surrounding environment, basic concepts in Biology and Chemistry must be attained.  Therefore, we have our work cut out for us, already six weeks into the semester, and some catching up to do.  Consider it a challenge.  I am like your coach, the one who will push you beyond the limits you knew you could achieve.  However, this is important work.  For it is only the educated who will bring positive changes to our society, and save the beautiful things we all enjoy, such as the seacoast, coral reefs, and exotic fish.
Just as with a coach, you will not always like what I have to say, but you will respect it.  Just as with sports, sometimes you will grow weary and want to stop, but you will keep trying.   And sometimes things may not seem fair, but you will trust that I am making the best possible judgment in each situation.  This is our classroom code of conduct. 
Learning, true learning, is not easy.  It requires questioning, reasoning, problem solving, and compromise.  But in the end, succeeding in a rigorous science class will be one of the most satisfying experiences of your high school career.  More important, however, once you have mastered all that I have taught you in this course, you will have rightfully earned your title of MVP, which, in this case, does not stand for most valuable player, but for most valuable person.  And that is precisely what each of you are.


  1. Great strait to a powerful and wonderful journey. The key word for for me I take from this blog is the word "powerful". Showing learners the power to learn they already possess is key to this journey being successful. Someone once said it begins with the first step!

    Even more powerful is the fact that you're sending a message that all students can learn if they are challenged! This generation has not been tagged 'Gen-Y' for nothing! It's up to teachers/educators to pique their curiosity through learning that has them continue to question 'Y'...If they continue to question, there is always learning! And it's not about test scores, grades, or extrinsic rewards. Encouragement and learning is reciprocal.

    Kudos to the 'coaching' concept embedded within the objectives of this 'curriculum'. The rules of the class are already written without having to write them on the on a blackboard (or whiteboard!) If learners know there are intrinsic rewards for their efforts (unlike dangling a carrot front of a donkey for to encourage his/her movement), then our jobs as teachers has been done.

    Finally, a key term used is 'valuable player' in their own learning. Ownership. Effective communication. Differentiated learning. Learning styles. Key terms (and more) that fit this wonderful plan of action that I am certain will produce effective results!

    I hope the learners respond to this post as I am quite interested in the progress of this journey...

  2. 'To Dream The Impossible Dream' is one of my favorite songs. Everybody has dreams about subjects big and small, but only a few are fortunate enough to make those dreams a reality. The first step is laying a proper foundation which in this instance is a good, quality education. Few educators I know have the ability and love of the art of teaching to impart subject knowledge with the skill of Ms. Berman. This is evidenced by the high number of her students that stay connected with her following graduation because what she told them way back when they found to be relevant in their current lives. Come to her class prepared to learn and you - each of you - will be highly rewarded. The country we live in can only be successful when each citizen reaches his/her full potential. Don't cheat yourselves, believe in what you're learning so that one day you'll be able to shout it from the mountaintop. I can assure you that Ms. Berman will never fail you so please return the favor and don't fail her either. You are about to embark on a journey you had no idea you'd take. Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.

  3. I think that teaching in Arts will be a great new experience for you because you will learn from the kids and see how different they are from the IS kids. Hopefully you can share whatever you learn from them and what they learn from you in our classes.
    -Iman Khatib