Teacher Feature: Molly Waterhouse
Meet Molly Waterhouse, who is a new Team Member at DSST: Green Valley Ranch Middle School. Molly will be teaching 6th Grade English.
Why I am excited about working at DSST: I am thrilled to be part of a team that truly cares about every student we work with. I look forward to growing as an educator, in an environment that supports innovative, collaborative teaching. It is exciting to be part of a network of schools that already has so many successes, and to think that I will help bring about even more success.
A Learning Experience that Changed Me: I taught English as a Second Language for five years in Brooklyn, New York, but it wasn’t until I spent time as a language learner that I really realized what my students had been dealing with. While traveling in South America, I regularly had conversations with people in Spanish, and although I used every ounce of effort to try to understand them, I still found that I could pick up only about half of what they were saying. However, instead of trying to tell them that I couldn’t understand, I found myself nodding along and pretending that I understood it all. In that moment, I realized that my students must have, at times, done the same thing to me. It made me more determined as an educator to find a way to really reach every student and to be sure that I never let them ‘nod through’ a lesson, but to really help them engage with the work.
My Favorite Book/A Book I Recommend: I have a few favorite books of all time (East of Eden by John Steinbeck is at the absolute top of the list) but the book that really stopped me in my tracks is called Tsotsi by Athol Fugard. It is the story of a boy who is so devoid of childhood and a nurturing upbringing that he doesn’t even have a name. The people who know him just call him Tsotsi, which means thug, and he has no memories, no morality and no history. That is, until he finds an abandoned baby. He is moved by instincts that he cannot understand to love and care for the child, until, at the end, the unthinkable happens. I remember reading the climax of the story on the city bus in New York and having all of the air in my lungs sucked out as I read the final pages. I put the book down and started to sob. Honestly, it was pretty awkward on the B35 bus, but that’s the power of a great book!
Hobbies and Interests: I am a big reader and I particularly enjoy historical fiction. Whenever possible, I am outside hiking, biking or running. I love to travel— so much, in fact, that I took a year off of working to travel the world. I have been studying Spanish and hope to become a proficient Spanish speaker.
Education: I earned my undergraduate degree in History from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. I spent one semester studying Urban Planning and History in San Francisco, and I spent another semester studying the cultures of the Himalayan rim in Nepal and Tibet. In 2006, I was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows Program and began training to become a teacher. I received my Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York in 2008.
Prior Experience: For five years, I taught at PS249, an early elementary school in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. Because I was a NYC Teaching Fellow, I was placed as an ESL teacher, and my school used a self-contained ESL model. During my time at PS249, I taught kindergarten, first and third grade. I led the professional inquiry team for the ESL teachers, and was an active member of the Ifetayo Cultural Arts program, which is dedicated to supporting the creative development of students through African Dance.