Ms. Amanda Bieglecki
Joined SRDS Community: 2014
Degrees: B.A., Elem. Educ., SUNY Cortland; Master's, Reading & Literacy Educ., Univ. of Florida
Fifth Grade Teacher; Tennis Coach

1.  What are some of your fondest memories from teaching at SRDS?
There are so many to choose from! A few of my favorite memories have been from some of the ice breaker activities that the 4th graders complete in the beginning of the year. One in particular is when the students have to write down the steps to make a cream cheese and jelly sandwich. After they write down their directions, I follow each of their pieces exactly how they wrote them. I am sure many of the students would say that I follow the directions a little too literally. The activity gets a little silly and messy, but it shows the students the importance of detail, sequence, and to make sure they always indicate to use a utensil to scoop out cream cheese, otherwise, someone may just scoop it out with their hand! 

2.  Why did you want to be a teacher?  What advice do you have for aspiring teachers?  
I first wanted to become a teacher when I was in 3rd grade. I would go home after school each day and mirror what my 3rd-grade teacher, Mrs. Olsen, did in her classroom- down to the way she would click the cap back onto the marker when she was done with it. As a third-grader, I didn’t really know all that went into teaching; I just knew I wanted to be like Mrs. Olsen. As I continued my educational career, it became more evident to me that teaching was my passion. I enjoy helping others and absolutely love the expression someone has when they learn how to do something new. 

My advice for aspiring teachers is to be professional, but have fun! A teacher’s main focus is to provide their students with the skills and strategies for them to be as successful as possible; however, it is so important to smile and laugh with your students while doing so. 

3.  How does our Lower School curriculum and teaching at SRDS prepare students to be successful as they move onto the Middle School?
Over the last few years, we have really focused on creating a bridge between the Lower and Middle Schools in order to make the transition as seamless as possible. We slowly incorporate items into the 4th-grade daily life that they will be using throughout their middle school and high school careers.

4.  What was your favorite class/research project in college/grad school? What is the lesson/subject you enjoy teaching the most?   
My favorite class was a writing course that I took during my graduate program. The professor sent the syllabus prior to the class starting and the entire first eight weeks of the course were focused around one writing piece. I was so confused and didn’t understand how a graduate assignment would be one paper over the course of 8 weeks. When we finally came together for the class, my professor explained that the paper needed to be about our hero. He then proceeded to explain that each week we would be dissecting specific sections of our papers and re-writing them with fresh eyes. It was one of the most eye-opening assignments I have ever completed. We peer-edited with a different partner each week, and it was truly amazing how one piece of writing could change over time.

Many people at SRDS know that my favorite subject is Math, although I have also really enjoyed the Social Studies curriculum we have implemented over the last two years. During the second half of the school year, the 4th graders focus on United States history. I love being able to teach the students about events and important figures that have shaped our country. One of my favorite lessons is identifying how the state of California got its shape. 

5.  You were a coach for our undefeated girls tennis team this year.  When did you start coaching, and what is your philosophy?
This season was one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences of my coaching career! Not only was it incredible to watch the girls achieve such an extraordinary feat, but it was even more of a pleasure to watch the team come together, support one another, and become a strong unit throughout the entire season.

This was my fourth year as the Assistant Coach of the Girls Varsity Tennis team. For the majority of my life, I was the athlete and not the coach. So taking on the role of coaching was different for me; however, I am so thankful for the mentor, and friend, that Coach Alrutz has been to me. He has taught me so much about coaching, and he has helped shape my philosophy about coaching as well. I believe that a coach has multiple roles. First, is to teach their players the fundamentals of the game. Second, is to instill confidence and inspire each athlete. Third, being a coach means you are a role model, both on and off the court. To me, being a role model is of utmost importance. I take pride in knowing that I am impacting these young people and teaching them skills and values such as confidence, teamwork, overcoming adversity, determination and drive, all of which they can use throughout the rest of their lives.