Explorations Classes

Joel Hawes

Describe your classroom in five words:
 My classroom is a safe, engaging, hands-on, fun and exploratory-based place to learn.
Teacher Profile:
I have the pleasure of working with the pre-kindergarten through second grade science students, while also serving as the Lower School Director.  My undergraduate studies at the University of Maine included a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Learning Disabilities.  My Boston University graduate coursework includes Master’s degrees in Science Education and in School Leadership.  I am entering my thirteenth year at Berwick Academy.  Prior to current employment, I worked at Tenacre Country Day School in Wellesley, Massachusetts in various instructional and administrative roles.  I began teaching school in Bangor, Maine as a sixth grade middle school teacher and have also worked as a reading instructor and program coordinator with the Boston Community Schools.  Besides my work at Berwick, I love my family time in Eliot, Maine and exploring the area on bike rides, hikes and running routes.  Gardening, kayaking and reading are also engaging pursuits during down-time opportunities.

Why do you love teaching science?
Science study allows for high engagement and enthusiasm for content knowledge and for active exploration.  I love seeing students’ natural enthusiasm come to life when we engage in a classroom or outdoor exploration.  It is refreshing to see that this natural sense of wonder is ever-present in our students.  The growth in skills and knowledge that students demonstrate from grade to grade is also a pleasure to observe.

How do you define great teaching?
Great teaching occurs when teachers’ promote a purposeful combination of high-interest topics with a logical flow of learning experiences, while also taking the strengths, challenges and social needs of their students into account.  Great teaching typically follows a flow of lessons that begins with skill/knowledge development, then places the skills/knowledge into specific practice applications and finally utilizes the skills/knowledge in authentic problem solving scenarios.  Great teaching is alive and fluid, rather than predictable and static.  It evolves with specific student, classroom and school needs, while also maintaining a bigger-picture foundational philosophy that guides teaching/learning on a daily and yearly basis.

Describe your classroom in five words:
 
My classroom is a safe, engaging, hands-on, fun and exploratory-based place to learn.

What is your favorite thing about the Lower School?
I love the “summer camp feeling” that is inherent in our Division throughout the school year.  Students and adults love working together in ways that promote a gestalt of high-energy and engagement.  At the foundation of our endeavor is a respect for the social-emotional needs of individual community members and of our School as a whole.  Next, an engaging alignment of core curricula, unified exploration classes and special events bring meaning to the Lower School experience.  Ultimately, the dedicated and respectful exchange between students, families and faculty/staff make our daily experiences so enjoyable throughout the school year.
 
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Serving Maine, The Seacoast of New Hampshire, and the North Shore of Massachusetts

Berwick Academy is Maine's oldest, independent Pre-K through Post Graduate private school. Our community is dynamic, offering challenging academics, competitive athletics, and creative arts programs. Members of the community operate within a context of caring and respect as we pursue our quest for "useful knowledge" as "one school with three divisions." Students and faculty are encouraged to expand their horizons by balancing academics with athletic, dramatic, and musical options.