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Work We Do: Sue Connolly, Greenport School

I’m Sue Connolly. I’m a sixth-grade teacher at Greenport School.

This will be my 17th year teaching, ninth in sixth grade. All in Greenport.
A normal day … the kids come in, they unpack, we use the first 15 minutes to settle. And they give me notes or tell me if they had trouble with homework, or something like that. Then we jump in. Math comes first, then we do a little vocab, reading, their specials. It’s a nice day. I have a small group and I love it. I have 12 students in this class.

We run class meetings. Now I say we run them; the kids run them. It’s lovely. We do have a format to it, but within that format, the kids get to say whatever they need to say and get to vent.

Sometimes they tackle something that happened during their day on the playground or it’s a real problem for them and they come back upset and need to talk about it. But sometimes it’s just a child being heard.

The difference between a regular class meeting and what we really have started over the last few years is that the kids are in charge. They are the facilitators.

Everyone gets a chance to speak. They all actually have to listen as well. And that’s what they’re practicing, really. And for a child that is shy, when they’re the facilitator, they’re practicing that as well.

Again, they have a protocol. They know what to do. My challenge is to stay quiet and let them do it.

They’re pretty good at it.

When you’re holding the bear, you’re the speaker. When you’re not holding the bear, you’re the listener.

I just love the kids. What I’m watching is them take care of each other. That’s great stuff. They’re learning to take care of each other and listen to each other.

And I love that. But, then again, I also love the teaching part. I love everything about my job, actually.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @thesuffolktimes.