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Liz Buchan

Grade 5 Teacher
Liz Buchan
Education:  Wellesley College, B.A., Lesley University, M.Ed.
ext:  6281

Where did you grow up?
Pittsburgh, PA
Total # of years teaching – 8
Faculty member since 2015

Why do you teach your respective age group?
I love the way 5th graders think - they are still concrete thinkers to some extent, but are venturing into the abstract more and more, and can really dive into content. I also love that teachers have to "earn" 5th graders' affection, respect, and trust. What an accomplishment to get there with every student every year. (I've also taught 2nd grade, and while I love the littles for lots of reasons, they love their teachers/homework/school immediately!)

What, if any, is your favorite classroom lesson to teach?
The work I do with my students around character education (lots of 'Responsive Classroom') is the most fun for me and most important, I believe, for students and for us as a community.

What is your community involvement outside of Brookwood?
I worked part-time for Brooke Charter Schools in Boston while I was a stay-at-home mom for these last few years. I essentially did some observation work. It was great to get into a different school setting from the independent school world, and will inform my teaching now that I'm back in the classroom.

Unique skills/passions/interests
I've done musical theatre most of my life, and would love to get back to performing at some point. I participated in a capella groups in different settings (college, as a teacher performing with middle schoolers, etc.) As a college student I performed for the Clintons at the White House (it was just us and them in the mural room - little fun fact). Right now, though, my passion (and time spent) outside of work involves my family - husband Hugh and two girls, Molly (3) and Hannah (19 mo). It's a busy house.

Educational travel
I spent time exploring the Oregon Trail on a school-funded travel grant - took my parents along with me. It supported some of the content I taught, and was a very moving experience to see remnants of the trail - more powerful than I imagined. The risks these people took to move themselves and their family is amazing to me.

Thoughts on taking a risk
I love that this is a focus at Brookwood, and that adults are encouraged to model this for students by taking risks themselves. One for me would be to participate in the 8th grade/fac bball game. This was a tradition at Shore too, and though I played basketball in middle school, I NEVER wanted to showcase my poor skills by playing in this game (even though I was encouraged and saw many others play who were definitely not great basketball players). It still scares me to death, but maybe I'll try it this year.

What about Brookwood attracted you and motivates you?
The focus and prevalence of the performing arts, and also that everything here is done with warmth and a sense of humor but also with great intention and in pursuit of extraordinary teaching. This was so obvious from my first phone calls and Lisa and others, and then in my visit to the school. I am also intrigued (and a little trepidatious) to combine my teacher self and my mom self. So far these "selves" have been separate. I can already tell that I will have a new perspective in working with parents, now that I'm a parent myself. I'm excited to discover and work with this.