Archana Sankar is, above all else, a mother. Mrs. Sankar treasures being a parent, and applies much of that rich life experience to her work as a science teacher at MBS, where she teaches primarily sixth grade along with Upper School biology.
Viewing her students through the eyes of a parent enables her to better see her students as individuals and as children looking to make a connection with an adult, and these connections are what lead to success in her classroom.
“I always read the room so I can figure out how to best relate to the students in the class,” she says. “Having a discussion-based class allows us to talk about a lot of different things, and connect what we are learning to what the children are interested in. I love to give students the chance to ask questions and see where those questions lead. This helps establish me as not just a teacher, but as someone who will listen, who is interested in what they have to say.”
As Mrs. Sankar describes, an important goal in sixth grade is to lead students to a deeper understanding of what, exactly, science is. Accordingly, Mrs. Sankar focuses on encouraging students to think of science as a process – one that requires them to ask questions, seek answers, and determine how to use those answers to lay the foundation for more in-depth study of the sciences as they progress through MBS. To that end, Mrs. Sankar has taken advantage of the many resources at her disposal at Morristown-Beard, such as Science on a Sphere®, which her sixth grade class used for rich, interactive lessons during a unit on earthquakes. She looks forward to taking advantage of the new Center for Innovation & Design to enhance lessons with interactive, hands-on projects.
While the myriad resources of MBS are a significant draw, the true standout of the School for Mrs. Sankar is the intangible feeling of belonging and focus on the development of the person. “I love Morristown-Beard School’s ethos, I love the community here and how everyone embraces each other,” she said. “I love teaching this way.”
This meshes perfectly with Mrs. Sankar’s goals as an educator because the emphasis at MBS is upon the student as a person – and helping them become well-informed citizens of the world. “They can always achieve what they need to achieve but they need to be a good person first,” she says. “There is always time to get an ‘A.’ The faculty will ensure that academics are rigorous and that students are hitting those marks, but the priority is to nurture the individual person sitting at the desk, first and foremost.”