An award-winning teacher works at the East Flatbush Community Research School.
Alexandra Guzman, who teaches science at the 905 Winthrop Street school, has received a Siemens Science Teacher Award for making science an interesting and engaging subject her students want to learn about.
“She uses some real-life applications to make kids get excited about math and science. She does project-based activities. She does some wonderful innovative work in getting kids engaged that normally would not be engaged,” explained James Whaley, president of the Siemens Foundation, which presents the awards in partnership with the New York Hall of Science in Queens.
Guzman, a resident of Long Island, also takes her students on trips to cultural institutions, like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Bronx Zoo and the American Museum of Natural History.
“They love it. Especially the Hall of Science where they get to touch everything,” Guzman said.
That hands-on approach is key in Guzman’s teaching.
“I don’t use textbooks,” she explained. “As long as they do and they touch and they feel and we can relate it to real life, that’s how I get them to understand science. It’s through the experiments. I don’t really lecture – what we’re tying to do is really hands-on. That’s pretty much how they learn science.”
Teachers like Guzman keep students on the path to success – especially when faced with challenging and sometimes “dry” subjects like math and science, Whaley said.
“A lot of kids just decide that math is not for them at an early age – sometimes it’s as early as fifth grade that students are saying, ‘I don’t feel inspired by this.’ It’s because the teacher in some cases doesn’t get inspired,” Whaley explained.
By presenting awards to top teachers like Guzman, “What we’re trying to do is inspire other teachers.”
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