By Karina Aronson
Math teacher Anne Bertron is one of Pinewood’s many inspirational teachers, and her teaching style has made her classes more entertaining. Starting her third year at Pinewood, Bertron teaches Algebra 1 and Geometry. She has thoroughly enjoyed the sense of community.
Throughout adolescence, it is essential to have a confidant, someone you can talk to about any troubles, highlights, or other matters. For many people, that person is a friend or a parent. But it is also important to have a community at school where you share your stories. Monday Advisory, a mentoring program, gives the Pinewood students that opportunity.
Like the program’s name suggests, every Monday, students break off into their advisory groups. Each student is placed into a group with peers from the same grade. The groups generally have 10 to 15 students and two faculty members. The program was first instituted last semester.
In mentoring groups, students discuss many topics, from being kind to creating group rules. Each mentoring group comes up with their own set of rules. But many of the rules are centered around topics such as confidentiality or participation.
“We made our norms [group rules] and played a few games,” said seventh grader Sasha Efimchik.
Joan Eble, office manager and advisor for an eighth grade group, said that both students and teachers benefited from advisory.
“ [Advisory Monday] helps keep the staff connected with the students, instead of just at an academic level and getting to know more about [the students],” Eble said.
In addition to students and faculty meeting outside of the classroom, advisory creates bonds.
“One of our [group] norms is that everything said inside stays inside, which creates a bond [when the rule is enacted]. If we say something private, it creates a connection between the community,” explained Efimchik.
While Efimchik and Eble agree that the mentoring groups foster a community and positive space, they also shared improvements and reactions.
Eble said that she enjoys Advisory Mondays, but, at the beginning, thought she wouldn’t because it isn’t in her comfort zone.
“The students that are in my advisory seemed to have a positive attitude about it which makes me think that they are enjoying it,” Eble explained.
Some students want a couple of changes to advisory. Efimchik shared that she would like to see more deep discussions and less games being played.
Advisory Monday is not just mentoring group; it is a small community of faculty and students. While, in some areas, it could be improved, advisory is helping students by creating a safe place to talk and by pushing them outside of their comfort zones. “Mentoring groups are bringing people together…[and it] fosters more of a community,” concluded Eble.
“From the moment I started at Pinewood, I felt welcomed, cared for, and part of a family. The students are great and the faculty, staff, [and] administration are super supportive,” Bertron said.
One of Bertron’s goals is to establish an enjoyable learning environment for her students, and she finds that humor and laughter are key factors in helping her achieve this, she noted.
“I like to have a balance in the classroom of fun and learning! If the students can laugh a little, then maybe they will also want to learn a little,” Bertron said.
Some students may be unaware of Bertron’s numerous hobbies and interests outside of school. She is a skilled dancer; she has been practicing it since she
“My mom put me into dance because her best friend in high school was a dancer, and it was the one sport my mom never did,” Bertron said.
Rather quickly, Bertron began developing a passion for dance. She even taught dance lessons while in college. After having kids, she gradually stopped training. Bertron still occasionally takes classes but not as frequently as she used to.
Similarly, Bertron discovered her interest in teaching at a young age.
“I saw the impact a teacher [could] have on a student’s life and I hope that I can be that for someone,” Bertron said.
Bertron settled on teaching mathematics because she thought that it would allow her to become a better educator, learning from the subject in both failure and success.
Junior Olivia Cooper said that math became less confusing and stressful after having Bertron as a teacher.
“Throughout high school, math has usually been my weakest subject, but Ms. Bertron has made me really understand it, and she has given me inspiration to work hard in math [so that] I can achieve my fullest potential,” Cooper said.
Cooper also appreciates how Bertron is always available to students when they need a shoulder to lean on.
Bertron has only been part of the Pinewood community for a short time, but she has made an immense impact on her students. She adores the every-day interactions she is able to have with them, and she feels blessed to be part of such a friendly community.