Sixth grade math teacher Teresa Chan Seidel's challenging upbringing as the daughter of Asian immigrants inspired her commitment to closing the achievement gap for students of color with high expectations for all. Her class at Robert Gray Middle School in Portland, OR, is a space where students of any nationality and culture feel empowered to learn. Through collaborative and specialized teaching techniques that play into students' academic and cultural strengths, Seidel has developed a nuanced approach to learning that draws from her personal experience, and has earned her an outstanding reputation.
To meet the goals of Robert Gray’s incoming expansion to its student body, Seidel introduced teachers to the “5 Questions to Ask Your Students of Color” guide. Created from her years of experience, it will surely come in handy for the substantial increase to the school's diversity. So, too, will her “Snapshots’' questionnaire, a series of personal questions students answer on the first day of class to build bonds between their diverse backgrounds. Both are examples of how Seidel considers the roots of her students in conjunction with curriculum. This engagement is why students willingly spend their lunches doing math homework in her classroom, nominate her as the teacher with the most "swag," and hold crying competitions to exhibit their appreciation. It's also why her students receive prestigious awards like the Young, Gifted, and Black award.
Seidel's efforts outside the classroom are equally as important to her approach. Engaging the families of her students, she keeps in contact, if necessary, throughout the course of the academic year. The food backpack program Seidel launched provides lunches for the most financially needy, supporting them so they can develop academically. Programs such as these are why Seidel was recruited to teach at Robert Gray Middle School, and why everyone from her principal to co-workers, predicts that Teresa Chan Seidel will remain committed to her mission of balancing the achievement gap.
Southwest Community Connection | May 01 , 2014 | Portland, Oregon
Oregon Public Broadcasting | Apr 16 , 2014 | Portland, Oregon
KGW-TV | ABC | Apr 16 , 2014 | Portland, Oregon
The Oregonian | Apr 16 , 2014 | Portland, Oregon