Ms. Tamara Hudson Green has been a teacher for 15 years and has worked at William D. Kelley School for 4 of those years. She is proudest of her students when they have that "light-bulb moment" and knows that is when she is helping them learn the most. While working at Our Mother of Consolation, Hudson Green was honored with the Hall of Fame Award. At Kelley, she won the Teacher Award for stepping up when the school needed her. She also tutors, coaches/mentors, and proctors for the SAT/HSPT at St Joseph's Preparatory High School. Ms. Hudson Green's passion for teaching is fueled by seeing her students walk away with knowledge they didn't have before.
Q: Inviting a program into your classroom can be a lot of work for a teacher’s busy schedule. What was it like planning with your team and the collaboration process?
A: “It wasn’t a grueling or challenging task because the architects were so efficient. The architects did a lot of the planning so I matched up lesson plans to integrate what they were doing. The fact that the team did the lifting on the front end helped me because I fit them in where it was appropriate. We spent time on the front end planning the multiple-week sessions and changed it if needed. The time flew! Even the things we didn’t get to, I made them into smaller activities before they came back the next week which created a better collaborative process between us.”
Q: Thorough the semester there were impressive lesson plans and projects, but your work with the Meyers team stuck out. What did that look like for your classroom?
A: “The Meyers team worked with them to sketch out what buildings looked like, what goes inside, where doors would be, etc... They even had a textile professional come in and talk about the significance of colors. Meyers then took all the students’ ideas to their office and brought them professional plans based on their work. They had sketches and layouts based on the written descriptions from the students. Mike and his team allowed the students to have their own tiered floor plans like professionals. Students used their creativity and real-world knowledge to create their own businesses. One team created a hair salon with product dispensers, a waiting room, and childcare. To see it all come together at the end was inspiring. I think the students even surprised themselves. I got so much positive feedback. Everyone was really impressed by the work these kids completed. “
Q: You have been participating in the ADE program for two semesters. Why do you think it’s crucial for your students to have access to this type of education in the classroom?
A: “Unfortunately, our kids don’t have a lot of specials anymore like art or hands-on science labs. Our science curriculum is a lot of seatwork and answering questions. As teachers, we learn that not all our students are readers or auditory learners. Students really need this hands-on learning. It allowed me to see my tactile learners in a different way and allowed them to be more creative."
Q: Our focus with the program is exposing students to a new career field while promoting a more relative or abstract way of thinking. As an educator, why do you believe these skills are crucial for all students to learn?
A: “It made our students consider the world around them like neighborhoods, socioeconomics, using cheap material or expensive materials... Especially since there is a lot of building happening in the area of our school, it gave them a chance to see what was going into that. I heard them using terminology they never used before when they described it. They have a different appreciation for what’s happening in their community and can think more broadly about it.”
Q: In addition to volunteers impacting the students, your students' diligence and thoroughness made an impression on members of the ADE community as well. Can you explain a time in the classroom when a student surprised you?
A: “I heard one of my students say college is not for him. Now he thinks he wants to build. It gave him the idea that he can take something to the next level by putting his ideas on paper and creating something in real life from it. He never talked like that before.”
Q: As we try to spread the word about our program, we look for dedicated teachers to showcase the benefits of bringing volunteers into the classroom. What would you tell a colleague or another Philadelphia teacher if they wanted to participate in the program?
A: “Do it! Do it! Make the time for it! I think all the students should be a part of this program in one way or another. It gives students a different outlook which they need. In my opinion, teachers need to be able to touch students who learn differently, and this reached my hands-on learners. I would encourage them to do it!”