Gwynns Falls Elementary, Baltimore City Public Schools, MD
2020 Teacher of the Year – Mid-Atlantic Region
Cellini Eastman is a teacher who loves to learn. She is always eager to learn how to spark students’ interests and improve her instructional practice. Ms. Eastman’s enthusiasm for learning made her a perfect addition to the Out Teach cohort at her school. She was so determined to discover more engaging ways to integrate multiple content areas in single lessons that she changed her schedule. The new schedule allowed more time for the instructional coach, Luisa Aviles, to provide feedback to Ms. Eastman on standards integration and support her as she planned new experiential learning activities.
“Out Teach was a wonderful learning experience for me. I learned how to bring the classroom outside regardless of the subject content. Out Teach was a wonderful learning experience for me. I learned how to bring the classroom outside regardless of the subject content.”
Throughout the coaching cycle, Luisa was consistently in awe of Ms. Eastman’s positive relationships with her students. Respect goes both ways in Ms. Eastman’s classroom. It was clear that Ms. Eastman sincerely communicates the potential she sees in her students, and her students respond to her sincerity. During one point in the coaching cycle, Luisa observed the students diligently working in separate groups. She was amazed at how promptly each group started their assigned activities even though Ms. Eastman was only tending to one group at a time. Luisa couldn’t believe that every student was on task without needing redirection. As Luisa was praising the students, one student spoke up to say that the class knows that education is going to help them in the future so they take their work seriously. That is a reflection of the high expectations Ms. Eastman sets for her students, and the positive affirmations she shares with them. Ms. Eastman even incorporates inspirational quotes from notable African American figures in history on the clipboards the students use during outdoor learning. The quotes serve as reminders about the endless possibilities the students’ futures hold.