This edition of Teacher Spotlight shines on Chadwick School’s Mariello Sallo.

Teachers often ask their students to take a step outside of their comfort zone and try something that will challenge them. That is what I’ve told many of my students, and this year, it was time for me to take my own advice. I knew that MSON was going to be a challenge, and boy, was this the right time to try it!

When I began teaching the class, I was overwhelmed with learning the right technologies to use and how to teach the material in a way that would be exciting for my students. One of my challenges was finding a way to “write my math on the board” during classes. At the beginning of the year, I fiddled with various apps, websites, etc. As a class, we found MIRO which allowed my students and myself to collaborate using the same “whiteboard.” A fellow MSON teacher, Josh Link, was also a great mentor. He shared how he used LaTeX to create his materials and I decided to learn it as well. I loved it so much that I’ve started to use it for my Chadwick class materials too! Throughout this year, I have learned different ways to engage my students online. We have also learned how to problem solve on days the slides were lagging, mics not working, restarting class, group projects, and the list continues. We have built a community of 10 students spread throughout four different states- with our own inside jokes and class memories!

When schools moved to distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I reminded my students that they are now resources and leaders for their schools. The skill sets we learned in our MSON MVC class helped to create ease for our peers at each school. In order to prepare for distance learning at Chadwick, we had two professional development days to quickly develop a game plan for our classes. I was able to help teachers brainstorm things from “How do I teach online, how do I collect work, how do I put students in small groups,” and so much more. By sharing my experience with MSON and being open about the challenges and successes it helped my fellow teachers know they, too, could do this. As we continue to teach from home, I have engaged in constant conversations with my colleagues on what has worked and what hasn’t. Even in this unprecedented time, I have seen such energy and willingness to be vulnerable, fail, and then succeed from both my students and colleagues.

I am thankful for my MSON experience- it has reminded me that we all are life-long learners. My class motto is “Enjoy the discomfort you will experience in this class; it will only make you a better thinker and problem solver.” Whether we expect it or not, we are going to put in situations that will cause us to stretch ourselves in different ways. If we accept those challenges, we will only become better.

Marielle Sallo, Ed.D
Chadwick School