Our next addition to our #ASpotlight Interview Series is Jesse Montero, a kindergarten teacher at Allen-Stevenson. Read below to learn about Jesse's passion for teaching our youngest learners, his belief in the importance of social-emotional learning, and more about what makes him a valuable asset to our wonderful faculty.
You stepped into an exciting new role as Kindergarten Lead Teacher this year! Are there any curriculum units or fun traditions that you are looking forward to incorporating into your classroom this coming year?
I am excited to partner with Ms. Jennifer Phillips and to continue the work that was started last year using the Teachers College Writers Workshop model. The program encourages students to develop a love for writing in a developmentally appropriate way.
Is there any particular passion of yours that you incorporate into your classroom curriculum?
Children are genuinely interested in learning about their teacher’s life outside of school. My greatest joys in this world are my son Nico and my partner Anne. I try to incorporate stories about my family into math explorations, language arts activities, and social emotional lessons. I have found that student engagement is higher when academic content is presented in a real-world context. Recently the boys loved using their math skills to help Ms. Phillips and me determine how many diapers our babies would need for the week if they used only five diapers a day.
Can you describe how you integrate SEL into your classroom?
Social-emotional learning (SEL) should be the cornerstone of every classroom. We use puppets, photographs, books, role playing, and real-life scenarios to introduce and reinforce social-emotional learning. Some of the best social-emotional lessons are sparked by everyday developments and happenings. I am always on the lookout for those ‘teachable moments’ that happen organically throughout the day.
What do you find most rewarding about working with kindergarteners, who are so new to school and the A-S community?
It is so much fun to welcome a new crop of kindergarteners to Allen-Stevenson every year. The look of curiosity, enthusiasm, wonder, and hope in every boy’s face inspires me to tackle each day with those same sentiments. Also, the incredible amount of growth that happens socially and academically for each boy in the kindergarten year brings a tremendous amount of joy to my soul.
What do you like best about working at Allen-Stevenson?
The community. Our school is a place filled with faculty, staff, and parents equally dedicated to the well-being of our students. Our community is truly special.
At Allen-Stevenson we often say that “there are many ways to be a boy.” What does this mean to you?
Every child has his/her unique gift to give to this world. I believe, especially working at an all-boys school, that boys should be allowed to express themselves in a way that they feel most comfortable. I want every boy that steps through our doors to know that there is place for them in our community and that they do belong.
Describe the Allen-Stevenson community in 3 words:
Warm, Energetic, and Passionate