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  • Writer's pictureMadaline Dunn

Tamsyn Allen-Virgo: Every child can learn

Tamsyn Allen-Virgo of J. W. Coon Elementary School is truly a cheerleader of her students. She champions their successes and compassionately guides them through their challenges, creating a learning environment that is both fun and productive.

Tamsyn Allen-Virgo has been teaching for 22 years and it's in her blood, having come from a family of teachers. But, for Tamsyn, teaching isn't just a family tradition—it's a calling. "It's what I was made for. I want to see every child excel because each child has potential whatever their level," said Tamsyn. Elaborating on her teaching philosophy, Tamsyn said she seeks to meet each child where they are while recognizing and embracing that success will look different for every student.

Tamsyn gets students engaged with math by showing them that it’s integrated into everything we do. Real-world applications, hands-on learning, and role play all work towards allowing her students to connect to math in meaningful ways and bring it to life. Role play, in particular, has proven to be an effective teaching strategy that gets students up and excited to learn. Tamsyn also makes great use of manipulatives, pair-share and cooperative learning, and she encourages students to take on an inquiry approach. This variety really helps her students stay involved, which is crucial for Tamsyn. "Once they're involved, that's when I see growth," she said.

For Tamsyn, an international teacher with Participate Learning, it's also important that her classroom is student-centered and so she constantly evaluates what works and what doesn't and makes changes to lesson plans and strategies accordingly. Professional development helps with this. Tamsyn says you never stop learning, so she fully embraces all opportunities for growth to be the best teacher possible for her students. She's currently undertaking her master's in education, for example, and is already introducing some of the new strategies she's learned in her course to her students in the classroom.

Prioritizing building a strong relationship with her students from day one, Tamsyn believes that mutual respect between her and her students is key. She says this creates a safe and nurturing environment where students can try new things, make mistakes, and learn.

Photos courtesy of Tamsyn Allen-Virgo

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