Ms. Becca Hamel shares her journey to Acton
I grew up in a small town in western Michigan, and graduated from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Alverno parallels many of the same principles as Acton Academy. While attending Alverno I earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and minored in dance. After college, I moved to Boston and obtained my Orton-Gillingham certification from Massachusetts General Hospital. Orton-Gillingham is a multi-sensory technique used to teach reading; it is particularly successful when presented to students with language-based learning differences, such as dyslexia. Feeling dissatisfied when teaching methodologies used in traditional schools, I obtained my Montessori 6 to 12-year-old certification through the American Montessori Society. I still felt uneasy about the American school system even in a Montessori school.
Acton Academy aided my spirit to soar again about teaching and learning. My personal and professional teaching journey has led me to believe in best practices and not just in a particular model. Acton Academy values this too. Not all philosophies and teaching methods meet an individual learner’s needs. I continue to research, observe, and employ methods that will work well for a particular child.
Technology is a wonderful tool to help learners master concepts and for guides to use data to interpret areas of weakness and strength. Ultimately it’s for the Eagles (a.k.a students) to figure out what those data mean in order to pilot their own learning. At Acton we use a variety of computer programs to focus on “Core Skills” during our day. Since we believe the children are in charge of their learning, they set goals for themselves and when they accomplished them they are “rewarded” with studio (a.k.a. school) privileges. This approach builds intrinsic motivation. Learners work in team building, conflict resolution, growth mindset, and self-esteem. An Eagle is gaining real-world job experiences from an early age. The main goal is for everyone to find his or her calling in life. Acton Academy truly is the 21st century way of learning!
My teaching assignments have been in public and private settings in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida, and Michigan. From these moves you can infer that I value meeting new people, cultures, and diversity. My interests include traveling (by air, land, and sea), cooking gluten-free and dairy-free foods, playing with my dogs Pookala and Toshomi (yes, they enjoy bicycles rides via their baskets), gardening, working on craft projects, dancing (currently studying belly dance), and being an enthusiastic lifelong learner!
Since joining the Acton community, I am truly living my Hero’s Journey!