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  • Writer's pictureMadaline Dunn

Sarah Lefebvre: Making the vision of growth mindset a reality

Sarah Lefebvre of Monroe Middle is a teacher who radiates enthusiasm and positivity; this is the foundation upon which she teaches. Always rallying behind her students, she believes strongly in the importance of a growth mindset and imparts to her students that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Now in her 16th year of teaching, Sarah Lefebvre knew she would be a teacher from the age of 8. She credits this to the support and guidance of her second-grade teacher, who saw her potential. Sarah emulates this in her own classroom with her students. She's always uplifting them, asking them about their goals, and providing them with guidance on how to achieve them.

For Sarah, ‘growth mindset’ is a mantra that she works hard to instill in her students. She explained that she encourages her students to use growth mindset language and the class even signed a growth mindset pledge at the beginning of the year. She said this has had a transformative effect on their attitudes and approach to learning. "It's become our mantra all the time. 'Oh, you know what, I just made this awesome mistake. Here's what I learned from this mistake,’" Sarah said.

She encourages students to point out her mistakes, too. "It's the tenth week of school and they've tallied at least 30 mistakes!" she said. It's this trusting relationship she builds with each of her students that allows them to feel safe to explore new things and challenge themselves.

Sarah loves to get her students up and moving, too and says there's nothing better than a loud classroom, because it means students are communicating about math and talking out their processes. As a self-described precocious child, Sarah said that this was never encouraged when she was young, which felt incredibly limiting and that is something she never wants her students to feel. Likewise, at the beginning of the year, Sarah gets the class to jump straight into low-floor, high-ceiling tasks that exist on a continuum so that every student can accomplish at least part of each task. Teamwork and peer learning also feature heavily in Sarah's classroom, which she said helps students feel more invested in their education.

Always going above and beyond the call of duty, Sarah attends her students' football games and dance recitals to show her students she really cares. This attitude extends to her personal development, too. Already equipped with a master's in special education, Sarah throws herself into every professional development opportunity on offer and even records herself teaching to see where she can improve. Sarah believes that, as a teacher, you never stop learning.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Lefebvre

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