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2011 Excellence in Teaching Award winner, Ms. Shira Fishman

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Published on Sep 20, 2011

Eight years ago, Shira Fishman was lured away from a career in Mechanical Engineering to become a DC Public Schools math teacher. "I was working forty-plus hours a week and coaching basketball after work at my local high school. Eventually, I realized that I got more joy out of my two hours of coaching than during the forty-plus hours I spent working in the engineering field."

Ms. Fishman provides her students with the inspiration, motivation, and ambition to succeed by tailoring her classroom lessons to keep them active and engaged. She explains that the first obstacle that she faces when introducing a new group of students to her class is fear of failure.

By helping her students conquer the fear of being wrong, she gives them the confidence to move forward, learn, ask questions, and become curious about the world around them.

Ms. Fishman's approach is paying off: last school year her students made gains of over 20% on the district interim assessments, and her efforts closed the 17-point achievement gap between her students above and below the poverty line.

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