Amanda Fasciano is a 2018 Inspired Teaching Fellow, teaching 5th and 6th graders at the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School. She shares about her mission to create more equitable education systems.
Hometown: Lincoln, MA – outside of Boston
Undergrad & Major: Bates College, Anthropology
Your favorite book to read as a child & why: The Mitten by Jan Brent, because I loved the illustrations and how you could tell what was coming next based on them!
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I minored in educational studies in college because I knew I was interested in education, but didn’t yet know if I wanted to be a teacher. I was fascinated by issues in education and during my studies, I started to realize that I wanted to devote my life work to changing educational structures to make them more equitable. By senior year, I decided teaching was the best place to start with that goal. I want experience in the classroom, on the ground, working directly with children. Teaching might be how I work towards educational equity for my entire career, or I may end up elsewhere creating systemic change, but regardless, I know that the classroom is where I want to start.
Why did you choose the Inspired Teaching Residency?
Everything I had read about Inspired Teaching’s model, the Residency Year, and the way Inspired Teaching teaches students and teachers, made me feel so excited! The philosophy aligned with all of my beliefs about teaching and learning. I couldn’t find a single thing I disagreed with. I also loved the support that the Residency model offers.
How has the cohort model affected your experience so far?
I think it’s been really great to have other people going through the same experience that I’m going through. They understand the program’s intensity and workload, and they are there for you to lean on. Having so many people from varying backgrounds in our cohort, also means I can hear a variety of perspectives on (and solutions for) any problem.
Are there any takeaways from Summer Institute that have already impacted the way you think about teaching & learning?
Summer Institute was a unique experience, because I was able to learn from people with so many different perspectives. In a matter of days, I felt like I knew the other members of my cohort like I know my closest friends. Now that I’m in the classroom, I continue to appreciate all that I learned from my peers this summer. In particular, I think a lot about the many different ideas of what an Inspired Teacher is and can be.
What is something you’ve learned in your first few months as a Resident at the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School?
I have really gravitated towards Inspired Teaching’s asset-based approach to working with kids. I have already experienced working with kids who are struggling with the transition to middle school, or having difficulty adjusting to the bigger class sizes. The asset-based model helps me think about what strategies I can employ to address these issues rather than seeing the children themselves as the problem. I think seeing every student as an individual will make me a better teacher in the long run.
How do you see your role as a changemaker?I’m excited to continue to learn more about how I can be a changemaker as a teacher. For me, a a big part of taking on the role of changemaker is meeting each student where they are as individuals. Students all have different experiences that impact who they are as a whole person.The balance is keeping individual needs in mind, while still pushing everyone to the same high expectations.
What advice would you give to a 2019 Inspired Teaching Fellow?
Take advantage of every experience that is offered to you, or that you can reach for, because it all will be helpful at some point! There are so many opportunities that the Inspired Teaching Residency offers; take advantage of them.