I love to teach and have been doing it for the past 17 years.
A huge part of my philosophy and practice developed during my time at The Farm School where I worked as a farmer educator and program director for 7 years. Visiting kids would often ask, “Why are you called a school?” I would answer, “Did you know how to milk a goat before coming here? Have you ever built a corn crib or cut down a tree? Have you made bread for 60 people?” It was the sort of learning that was so embedded in our day that they didn’t think of it as learning.
I believe that every day is full of “teachable moments” where a child’s wonder about ice can be transformed into a series of scientific experiments that continue over many days, and where those experiments can effectively meet the standards set by the state. My years at Bethlehem Children’s School gave me the chance to put my philosophy into practice, engaging in project-based learning and creating a responsive and caring class community.
I have a B.S. in environmental studies from the University at Buffalo and a Masters in Education with a Science Concentration from Antioch University New England. While science, and especially outdoor education, shape my teaching, I am also in love with the arts and am never surprised when I read yet another study touting their benefits to children.
It has been a dream of mine for years to create a school that builds on all that I have learned, a school that builds joy for children and for me. Country Classroom is that school.
My name is Theresa Heary-Selah, and I am so glad to be one of the founding teachers of The Country Classroom, Schoharie County’s soon-to-be independent school.
I am certain that taking good care of children is the most important thing we can do . I have been in the classroom and teaching middle school for over 16 years. I spent 10 of those years as the director and founding teacher of a tiny school in Western MA. The school was a one room schoolhouse on an educational farm. I lived in a loft over the classroom. My students would come each day and we would study our subjects and do farm-work. They would climb trees, catch chickens and have plenty of recess. Our academic and physical work was effortlessly integrated. Many days felt magical. They went on to excel in both public and private high schools.
I believe in the beauty of manual labor, nature, time outside, and experiential learning. My students always go home dirty and tired.
I also believe in the fight for social justice. I want a more equitable world for all children. I am working on a book about race and racism for middle school children, and I currently teach social justice related courses online (www.onlineclassesforgroovykids.org). I can’t send my children into the world without trying to make it better.
And most of all, I believe in kindness. I actively, thoughtfully and diligently nurture kind communities.
While there is a certain freedom in teaching online, I miss the simple pleasure of having a class of young learners. Tracy Manning and I have been talking about starting this school for almost 20 years. I am particularly excited to create a school for my own children. This school is, in every way, a dream come true.