The Kid Whisperer
While Susan was still a child herself, her parents always knew they could find her wherever there was a baby in a carriage requiring some attention. Susan has always been able to connect to children on their level and they’ve naturally responded in kind. This deep connection earned her the reputation of being a “kid whisperer”; something that has followed her throughout her childhood into her graduate studies and what finally led her to found her own school, the Feynman School. Susan was kind enough to tell us how she went from a little kid who loved babies to the founder of a private school in this latest episode.
Out of the Mouth of Babes
Susan values kids and what they have to say. She wants to know what they know about- partly because she experienced what it felt like not to be heard in her middle school years. The classes were huge, the kids were mean and the teachers didn’t invest the time to get to know the students. She struggled with feeling displaced and being bullied. Her parents recognized her struggle and assisted her transition to a private high school where she flourished and, “ finally got a taste of what good education could be like.” When she attended college in Montreal, her eyes were opened even more to people with different perspectives and backgrounds. She continued her graduate studies in Child Development and Early Childhood Education and did some policy work before she realized where she really belonged was in the classroom.
Out of the Box
Susan loved the art of teaching and the investment in her students, but one thing really bothered her. It was difficult to be a creative and critical thinker in an educational system that didn’t allow space for it: for the teachers, or for the students. She thought that if she was going to teach children in the way she believed they should be taught, perhaps she had to do it herself.
“Find a way or make one,” is the philosophy at Feynman School; the school Susan founded. Susan prides herself on the fact that Feynman provides an enriching environment for all students. Feynman delivers advanced STEM principles while still maintaining holistic, interdisciplinary pedagogies that create space for critical thinking and creativity; exactly, what Susan believes, had been missing in other educational systems.
Students at Feynman come from all backgrounds and different schooling experiences because they know their talents and passions will be supported; whether it’s mathematics, Manga, or speedskating. Susan believes in investing in what students care about and it shows in how the students at Feynman are succeeding both in their own personal lives and off the charts academically according to the state standards.
To learn more about the incredible opportunities Feynman School offers it’s student body and hear more about Susan’s story of how she became the founder of such a supportive and inclusive school, listen to the full episode.