Michelle Erickson joined the Delaware Valley Friends School community as a member of the Language Arts Department teaching 9th and 10 grades. Michelle brings almost 15 years of experience educating upper school students with learning differences in a mainstream environment. In addition to her academic classes, Michelle participates in the school's Puzzle Club, advises the Aquaponics Club, and is assistant coach for girls lacrosse. Michelle is always open to collaboration with the arts departments and looks forward to opportunities to create some extracurricular arts immersion experiences for students.
Read a brief interview with Michelle below:
Q: What drew you to Delaware Valley Friends School?I like the community and the student-centered classroom pedagogy. It is so good to make curricular choices based on what the students need to grow as learners, instead of content that needs to be "covered". I am happy to be here!
Q: How is DVFS different from other schools where you have taught?
Some of my teaching took place in extra-curricular settings. But my school experience prior to DVFS was at an arts high school with formal arts classes, and an intentional integration of artistic content in academic courses. It is different in stated mission, yet similar in that both schools strive to meet students where they are, and to grow them as learners and thinkers.
Q: How do you help students with learning differences learn?
I begin with the premise that my job is not to teach kids what to know, but how to know. Not what to think, but how to think. It is important to create space for students to show what they see and know, so that they can progress comfortably into stronger language skills and critical thinking.
Q: What are you most enjoying about your new role at DVFS?
The supportive community, energetic students and cooperative parents and families. This is a great place.
Q: What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
I have lots of experience in arts appreciation, though I am not an artist. Whether it is visual arts, or dance- I especially love introducing people to the ways these expressions teach us about ourselves, our world, each other.
Q: What, in your opinion, sets DV students apart?DV students are set apart by their honesty. I appreciate that so much.
Q: How do your other roles as an advisor and coach at DV provide a different perspective on the school and the students?
They are an important way to build relationships with students, when the academic expectation doesn't exist. It is a way to see their multiple talents and intelligences!
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not teaching at DVFS?
I'm in the last few months of mothering high school students, so I'm trying to spend quality time with my youngest who graduates too soon. I enjoy going to art museums and dance performances. I love exploring Philadelphia by foot. I spend a lot of time each day in transit, but that's alright- it's then that I keep up on news or try to study French!