Teacher of the Month: Ms. Elizabeth Olive Reply

Elizabeth is working with Niki Singh as a student teacher. We chose her as this monthʼs teacher of the month because you canʼt not like Eliz­abeth. Even though sheʼs not an official teacher at BSGE she hasalready inspired the 8th graders she works with.

Full Name: Elizabeth Lithgow Olive Age: 24 Birthday: July 23 Zodiac Sign: Leo Hometown: New York City Ethnicity: Caucasian College: Harvard College

Favorites-Movie: “Waiting for Guffman” Food: Indian

T.V. Series: “The Office” Sport: Baseball / Basketball Team: Red Sox / Nets Season: Fall Day of the Week: Friday

If you had to place yourself into a stereotypical high school group(jocks, preppy, nerds) which one would it be?

Well, I graduated with only 24 in my class (and we were all girls), so Iʼd say we were really just one big group in high school. My classmates would probably have considered me somewhat of a jock since I spent most of my free time playing sports, but I also definitely embraced (who am I kidding -embrace!) my inner-nerd.

Can you think of a time where you fell into peer pressure?

I wore a lot of flannel shirts in middle school, back in the days when grunge music was all the rage.

What was your relationship like with your parents when you werea teenager?

I have always had a good relationship with my parents. Iʼm an onlychild, so itʼs just the three of us and we have always been more like friends or roommates, I think, than parents and child. My mom and dad never really told me I couldnʼt do anything – their strategy was more discussion and negotiation, so I didnʼt have a lot to rebel against. I was also a pretty easy kid, though, I think.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

I lived in Costa Rica one summer in a small town where no one else spoke English. My host brothers took me to a birthday party where there was a karaoke machine, and the entire party begged me to sing Celine Dionʼs “My Heart Will Go On” because it was very popular at the time, and they wanted to hear it sung “the right way.” Of course I had to comply.

When you were younger what did you want to be when you grewup?

Well, when I was really little I wanted to be a fireman. Once I started middle school, though, I decided I wanted a job that involved writing. I wrote lots of short stories, and starting in sixth grade was always in­volved in the school newspaper. In college I wrote for The Crimson and did internships at a few daily newspapers including The Cape Cod Times and Boston Metro.

How long have you wanted to be a teacher?

I got interested in teaching during my sophomore year of college, after I started tutoring at an after-school program in Boston. I really enjoyed the challenge of figuring out what students were having trouble with, and finding ways to help them understand material better. I think edu­cation is the most important thing you can give a child, and I feel lucky to be involved in a profession I feel is meaningful.

What do you think of BSGE?

I have really enjoyed teaching at B.S.G.E. There is a high level of moti­vation amongst the students and the faculty, which is energizing. I feel lucky to have gotten to know so many wonderful people (including the 8th graders who definitely played a part in my decision to keep teaching middle school, instead of moving up to high school.) I also admire the schoolʼs commitment to community service and the global community. I think B.S.G.E. students are so lucky to be receiving such a broad edu­cation.

How is working with Niki?

Working with Niki has been an incredible learning experience for me. Not only have I picked up some really wonderful concrete teaching strategies, but I have also seen how valuable collaboration can be in teaching, or any profession I suppose. What starts out as a good plan or idea can become great if you have someone terrific with whom to discuss it. I guess thatʼs why we make students do so much group work!

Any goals for the future?

Next year I am teaching 7th grade English at a charter school in Boston, and am really excited to continue to hone my teaching skills. I also want to open a used book store / pizza place where students can come in and read, and earn free pizza for finishing a book. Iʼd also like to start a travel-writing camp. But I think I better focus on the teaching for now.

Is there anything you regret?

At the moment Iʼm wondering why I agreed to answer all of these ques­tions via e-mail…

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