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#KnowYourPelicans: Jonathan Farmer
#KnowYourPelicans: Jonathan Farmer
View photos from the 2014 Fall Fundraiser Festival

Know Your Pelicans - Jonathan Farmer

#KnowYourPelicans: Jonathan Farmer

Fourth Grade Teacher

What do you teach? What is one of your favorite parts of the curriculum?

As a 4th Grade teacher, I love being able to teach everything — reading, writing, math, social studies, the whole megillah! One subject that never ceases to surprise me is word study. For example, last year I realized that words that begin with "wr" often have something to do with twisting or turning. This year I learned that the word "neighbor" literally means "nearby dwelling" (nigh bower)! And just yesterday, I learned that the word "explore" was originally a hunter's term for "setting up a loud cry" to roust animals, and it's related to "implore" and "deplore"! My students know that a sure-fire way to distract me is to ask where a word comes from!

Besides your subject, what's something you hope to teach your students?

We learn a lot in Fourth Grade, but one of the most important things I hope my students come away with as they go off to Middle School is that with a growth mindset, the impossible becomes possible. As a kid, when I saw other kids reading "harder" books or zooming through math problems, it was sometimes really hard to keep trying. It took some great teachers to help me realize that the more effort I put into my work, the more fun the learning becomes! I want to be that teacher to the students in my class.

Tell us about a time you learned something from our students.

Packer students know so many cool things! This year there's been a dance craze sweeping the grade. I started noticing that, as they were waiting in line or hanging out during choice time, a bunch of kids were swinging their arms across their bodies, alternating back and front. One of my students said, "Hey Mr. Farmer, can you do this?" I said, "Sure, kid, that looks easy — out of my way!"

I was... mistaken. Turns out this dance was not as easy as they had led me to believe. But once my students had granted me a lesson in humility, they kindly taught me "the Floss."

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Easy—I'd fly! The reason should be obvious —it would be awesome. Actually, I have a recurring dream that I can fly by flapping my arms really, really hard and cutting through the air as if it were water. So, if you see me in the hallways flapping wildly, I'm either doing the Floss or putting my "growth mindset" to good use and hoping that one day I might finally catch some air!

Previous Pelicans:

Kindergarten Teacher Anne Montero

Upper School Science Teacher Alice Lurain

World Languages Teacher Su-Ling Huang

Upper School Art Teacher Eric Baylin

Preschool Teacher Lynnette Arthur

Middle School English Teacher Todd Johnson

Physical Education Teacher and Coach Rich Domanico

Food Services Member Ann Martinez

Lower School Librarian Chris Rush

Upper School Computer Science Teacher Louis Minsky '09

Upper School History Teacher Monika Johnston

First Grade Teacher Irene Turner

Interim Chair of the Arts Department Ali Boag

Middle School Dean of Student Life and Health Teacher Bessie Oster

Fourth Grade Teacher Tim Jensen

Middle School Math Teacher Ashley Greene

Upper School Choral Director Esther Liu Harris

Upper School English Teacher Eric Weisberg

Facilities Staff Member Luciean Seaforth

Director of Global Outreach, Service, and Sustainability Tené Adero Howard '91

Administrative Assistant for Student Services, College Counseling Lydia Monzio

Lower School Associate Teacher Annabelle Baylin

Middle School Administrative Assistant César Ayala

Instrumental Music Coordinator Paul Riggio

Second Grade Teacher Sara Baumrin

The Development Office

Pre and Lower School Music Teacher Fran Onne-Fong

Physical Education and Health Teacher Dorothy Gurreri

Latin Teacher Tim Flannery

Hallmaster Louis Rios

Security Team Member Nick Griffith

Third Grade Head Teacher Joanna Stern

Middle School Math Teacher Colin Levitt

Upper School Science Teacher Lutz Holzinger

Pre and Lower School Admissions Coordinator Yvonne Menard

Upper School History Teacher George Snook

Dance Teacher Alicia White

Middle School Science Teacher Stephanie Rapciak

Library Department Chair Andrew Parson

Pre and Lower School Assistant Head Joe McCauley

Spanish Teacher Dallas Rico

Permanent Substitute Teacher Rita Pavia

Instrumental Music Teacher Jeremy Udden

Food Services Team Member Shanique Hollis

Middle School History Teacher Vidya Misra

Head of School Dr. Bruce L. Dennis

Dance Teacher Mandy Stallings

Physical Education Department Head Pippa Mayell

Director of Middle and Upper School Admissions & Financial Aid Sheila Bogan

Directory of Diversity and Equity Semeka Smith-Williams

Upper School History Teacher Sandra Fahy

Director of Alumni Dona Laughlin

Accounts Payable and Purchasing Manager Akeem Layne '05

Middle School History Teacher Kate Meyer

Maintenance Team Member Patrick Sandiford