It’s a sign of good teaching when you walk into a classroom and each student has a bouncy ball for a chair.
“There is research that proves there is more blood flow to the brain when sitting on a ball,” says Ronda McCarthy. “I also allow bouncing and wiggling.”
For herself, she doesn’t even have a desk, as she’s always walking around the room helping, talking, teaching and bouncing when she does take time to sit by a student. The energy in this room is palpable, and it is generated from McCarthy’s extreme passion for teaching.
She went back to school for her teaching degree to teach only if it would be at St. Theresa’s Catholic School on University.
“It’s a real community here,” she says. “I wanted to be a part of this wonderful community between the teachers, parents and students.”
As it turns out, she is a big part of this school. She’s been teaching fourth and fifth grade science for three years. She has written and received five grants for brand new STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) equipment. She teaches ELL (English Language Learner) classes. She’s on the St. Theresa marketing committee. Last but not least, she’ll finish her master’s degree in May of this year.
The grant is what she is most excited about at this time. It has allowed her classroom to house 18 African frogs, 17 fiddler crabs and 18 millipedes. Last year they studied the habitats; this year they are building them.
She holds up a millipede out of its dirty habitat and declares just how interesting it really is. Then she moves to the class turtle to hold and pet him.
As a portion of this lesson wrapped up, the students got to adopt any of the frogs, crabs or millipedes they wanted.
Other major topics she teaches her students are respect for others and how to be proficient readers — “to read more about science,” she laughs. Soon the entire school will be learning and living Lent. On occasion they play Jeopardy on the smart board.
Outside of her passionate teaching career, McCarthy and her family are planning a trip to Ireland during spring break.