When Governor Phil Murphy canceled in person teaching for the rest of the school year, Amanda Frazao ’11, ’19 MA, a fourth grade teacher at Roosevelt School in North Arlington, found a creative way to connect with her students. In an attempt to brighten her students’ day, she came up with a plan to drive by each of their homes and surprise them.
“Seeing their reaction was priceless,” she says. “I really miss learning in the classroom with them.”
Like many other teachers across the country, Frazao had to think of ways to engage her students while teaching remotely. One way of doing so was to have her students see her teach a social studies lesson on NJTV. In April, she had the opportunity to represent the NJEA on NJTV Learning Live with a social studies lesson. Many of her students shared that they felt like they were in the classroom again, and stated how much they missed school.
According to Frazao, adjusting to a new way of teaching has not been easy. The biggest challenge she has faced as an educator during the pandemic has been connecting with all her students. The everyday routines, communicating, answering questions on the spot reading a book and hearing instant giggles is what she misses the most.
“Above all, I am proud of their work, perseverance and demonstration to quickly adapt to online learning,” she says. “They have proved that online learning is possible.”
In addition to her current role as teacher, Frazao also serves as a Student Council advisor and director of the STEAM summer enrichment program at Roosevelt School. She has been able to successfully organize many school-wide fundraisers in support of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Box Tops for Education. Over the years, the Student Council has been able to raise over hundreds of dollars for many causes.
“My goal is to have students within our school actively demonstrate and become global citizens of our community, country and world,” she says.
Growing up, Frazao always knew she wanted to be a teacher. In order to achieve her dream, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Family Child Studies with an Elementary Education and Earth Science certification at Montclair State. Along the way, in addition to receiving a great education, she also made lifelong friends.
“I still remember creating and implementing hands-on lesson plans for various classes with my peers,” she says. “It was in these classes that I met many new friends, many of whom I keep in touch with today and are now my best friends.” Today, they have all become teachers throughout different districts in New Jersey.
After graduation, Frazao began teaching pre-k at Lacordaire Academy in Montclair and then began teaching for the North Arlington public school district. She first taught kindergarten and then fifth grade. Throughout the years, she noticed that her students experienced challenges in reading. This motivated her to expand her education and achieve a master’s degree in Reading and Literacy at Montclair State.
“It is my goal to motivate every single one of my students in a relevant, meaningful and memorable manner,” she says. “I believe education is the key to success, and every day I remind my students why their education is valuable.”
As she reflects on her journey, Frazao advises students pursuing a degree in education to be patient and flexible. “Teachers are always learning new strategies and techniques to better reach their students. Through whatever challenges you face as an educator, never forget your personal philosophy for education.”