Teacher Feature on Ms. Bellman


Sydney Curry, Staff Writer

At which school in the district do you teach?

Hamilton Elementary School.

 What subject(s) do you teach?

All subjects.

What grade (s) do you teach?                                                                                                                                                   

I taught kindergarten for eight years. Then, I graduated to first grade.

How long have you been teaching at SASD?

I have been teaching at the SASD for 17 years.

What is the most rewarding lesson you have ever taught? Why?

My most rewarding lesson was when I taught my first-grade students that they could make a difference in the world. We were learning about Africa and had many discussions about the animals and why some are endangered. A parent came to me and passed along an idea that could help save elephants.

The students had to find a way to inspire others and work hard creating telegrams so that Martin Guitar and other sponsors would donate money to the Nature Conservancy to help prevent elephant killings for ivory. A telegram could be a drawing, painting, photograph, or any other type of art that displayed an elephant. The goal was to assist Martin Guitar with the creation and collection of at least 20,000 telegrams.

We drew and colored pictures daily, and we contacted and had the support of other teachers in the SASD, BASD, as well as some NYC schools. We did help Martin Guitar and other sponsors reach their goals. A large sum of money was donated to the Nature Conservancy. It was so exciting for all of the kids and everyone who stepped in to assist these amazing animals. My hope is that these children will carry this inspiration and success story with them as they grow older and continue to be a part of positive change in the world.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Gandi

What is one important lesson you have learned as an educator?

Every year is a new journey with many twists and turns. You never know what mix of amazing kids you will get. Each and every year brings some challenges and as a teacher, you need to adapt to meet the needs of each unique student. Most importantly, remember to have fun along the way and LAUGH! We all need laughter in our lives.

What is your favorite part about teaching? 

The laughter my students and I share as we grow and learn from each other. We have read many exciting and interesting stories over the years. Most of our favorites have been non-fiction stories about animals. One year, I decided to take on the challenge of publishing a book with my class. This was an amazing accomplishment. Each year since my class experiences the process of hard work and perseverance needed to become a published author. It has also been a fabulous way to motivate students to write.

Some of our book ideas were inspired by researching animals and others were done by students creating and inventing their own animals. When the books arrive from publishing we have an Author Celebration. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the excited faces of my students as they hold and cherish their professionally printed books.

What is your favorite quote and what does it mean to you?

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Gandi

I believe that you can’t wish for change without being actively involved in the process to make a change for the things you are passionate about. Climate change is REAL! We all need to do our part to make a difference as I have been reducing my carbon footprint as much as possible.