Third-graders love Mrs. Zazzaro (aka "Mrs. Z") and all that she brings to our classroom. We talk about building resilient children and Mrs. Z is a huge part of helping us to do that each day. She is not only a teacher but a confidant for each of our third-graders.
Mrs. Z. is the "safe zone" for our kids. She allows them to talk openly and honestly about issues that involve school, relationships, family and life in general. There is some magical power about Mrs. Z. because she just knows what our kids are dealing with.
She checks in with both the students and the teachers to see how she can help us - and not just if we may be having concerns. She is the third-graders' biggest cheerleader and fan. She is there to praise them and take care of them, but she is also there to help direct them if she notices they may not be doing the things they need to do.
Her lessons in character education are tailored and designed to assist our students in talking about issues they are facing or will be facing somewhere in their life journeys. One of our favorite lessons she teaches involves the "Criticizing Critter." The coolest part about this lesson for us is that the Critter was actually born in third grade almost a decade ago. He was born out of a need to help several former third-graders deal with some conflicts that had arisen all those years ago and Mrs. Z. has found a way to incorporate him into her curriculum every year. We think the Critter actually makes his way through pre-K to 5 classrooms, too!
It is amazing how Mrs. Z. finds ways to relate to our students and finds ways to help them solve problems. She finds ways to communicate with them on their level and makes them feel respected and listened to. The thing we admire most about Mrs. Z. is her ability to help our kids become self advocates. She helps them to find their personal voices in the world and to stand up for themselves as the need may arise.
We love our students and all the ways we get to help them grow as students and human beings, but having Mrs. Z. alongside us for this resilient journey sure makes it a little easier!