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Meet Our Teachers

The Hurley takes great pride in its teachers, all of whom bring valuable expertise, dedication, and a love of children. At the Hurley, teachers work in teams in many areas: by grade, by subject matter, and by area of focus. Hurley teachers view themselves as part of a learning community, and regularly share feedback, best practices, and teaching innovations.

Below are just three examples of our teaching staff.

Diana Colón, First grade

What grade/subjects do you teach?

I am one of the 1st grade teachers; I teach Spanish Literacy as well as Math and Science. I’m also the resident tech specialist, field day planner and trouble maker.

What three words would you use to describe your teaching style?

Latino, old school, and innovative.

How would you describe your relationships with students?

I have a family dynamic with my students. My relationship with them is a mixture of tough love, laughter, and hugs.

Do you have a favorite lesson or project that you teach?

We have a non-fiction writing unit where the students write “How To” books and “All About” books. I love seeing what the kids come up with to write about. I also like our Treasure Unit because I get to see the kids realize that treasures aren’t just gold coins and rings but also their family members and memories.

What do you love about teaching?

I love seeing the growth in the kids, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Making connections with the families. And the vacations.  And the food.

What is the best thing about teaching at the Hurley School?

Getting to speak Spanish.  And the size—I feel I know just about every kid in the school from K0-8th, even if I haven’t been their teacher.

What is it like to teach at a bilingual school?

It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s cool to see how the kids progress in both languages. It also gives me a lot of freedom to try different approaches.

Is there a lasting lesson you hope your students take from your classes?

That Spanish is cool. And that a smile and a hug go a long way.

Who are your favorite authors?

I have favorite books rather than authors. The Outsiders, In These Girls Hope is a Muscle, En El Tiempo de las Mariposas, Cronica de una Muerte Anunciada and La Sombra del Viento. I also still love reading Young Adult novels—I couldn’t put down The Hunger Games trilogy or 13 Reasons Why.

Is there anything else you would want students, parents, and prospective Hurley families to know about you?

I’m living proof that bilingual education works.  You have to have “paciencia y fe” (faith and patience).

 

Jennifer Muhammad, Fourth grade

What three words would you use to describe your teaching style?

Inspirational, energetic, and interactive.

How would you describe your relationships with students?

My students know who’s boss! However, they know that I’m fair and only want the best for them. I set high expectations and they don’t want to disappoint me. At the end of the day though, I’m the mother figure who they can hug when they’re sad, the person they can trust with a secret, the person who can push them to their limits because they know I care. 

Do you have a favorite lesson or project that you teach?

I absolutely LOVE reading great stories aloud, especially when they’re full of dialogue and I can get into character. I have a mean Australian/English accent and my Spanish and southern accents are pretty darn good too! To see my students’ eyes light up as a story comes alive within the confines of our classroom is truly priceless. 

What do you love about teaching?

It’s so satisfying to see improvement over time and notice kids developing a passion for learning. Each week my students write in Dialogue Journals. How wonderful it is to see my students incorporating the revisions and edits I requested into their subsequent entries! Moreover, I see their confidence growing and then their desire to get to the next level is that much stronger. With my guidance, they’re mastering the academics.  

What is the best thing about teaching at the Hurley School?

The Hurley has come a very long way since I began teaching a decade ago.  Students from such varying backgrounds come together to learn in two languages.  How cool is that?  Depending on whether it is English or Spanish week, it’s great to see different students able to serve as models of the language. 

I have to say that we have one of the best staffs around! It is clear how dedicated each and every teacher is to our students. We work far beyond the school hours, in our classrooms and at home. We work hard, but we know how to recharge by celebrating our successes and not taking ourselves too seriously. Our sense of humor keeps us energized.

What is it like to teach at a bilingual school?

Sometimes I take for granted working at a bilingual school. This is my 11th year at the Hurley and I did my student teaching at another dual immersion school in Boston. However, there are times when I am able to see our school the way an outsider might view it. Students communicating at their lockers in two languages, reciting the school pledge in two languages, learning all of their subjects in two languages, enjoying theater and other arts in two languages. We have something here that is rare and special in the United States. To be able to leave eighth grade bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural is such a precious gift. When I have children, I hope I have the chance to send them to such a school. 

Is there a lasting lesson you hope your students take from your classes?

I always encourage my students to ASK QUESTIONS! So many children (and adults) are embarrassed to admit when they don’t know something. Usually when something is confusing to them, it’s also confusing to others.  Speaking up about what is challenging not only helps the individual, but the entire class.

 

Helen Sullivan, Grade 6

What grade/subjects do you teach and when did you join the Hurley School? 

Grade 6, ELA and Social Studies, 2014

Why did you choose to become a teacher?

I have always enjoyed working with kids.  Additionally, growing up I always found myself explaining things or “teaching” my friends.  When I took an introduction to education course in college, I realized that teaching was an obvious professional choice for me.

What three words would you use to describe your teaching style?

Thoughtful, inquisitive, and student-centered

How would you describe your relationships with students?

I would like to think that I have a loving and caring relationship with my students.

Do you have a favorite lesson or project that you teach?

I love teaching the book Wonder, by R.J. Palacio because I enjoy hearing students’ discussions about compassion and acceptance.

What do you love about teaching?

I love being around kids all day because their opinions are genuine and they tend to make profound ideas sound obvious.  

What is the best thing about teaching at the Hurley School?

The students!

What is it like to teach at a bilingual school?

I love teaching at a bilingual school because it is a world in which enthusiasm for bilingualism is universal.  I also love that it allows me to collaborate closely with my wonderful partner teacher.

Is there a lasting lesson you hope your students take from your classes?

I hope my students develop and sustain a love for reading!

What are your hobbies?

I love to ride my bicycle! 

Who are your favorite authors?

Junot Diáz, Zadie Smith, Dave Eggers, Khalid Hosseni, Gabriel García Márquez