Teacher of the Month: Jim Messina
This month’s featured teacher, National Mutt-i-grees® Peer Trainer and Teacher Advisor on Curriculum Development for Yale 21C, Jim Messina, was nominated by fellow Mutt-i-grees® teacher, Justin Kinney.
Jim is the Director of Spiritual Development at Saint Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven, CT. He has worked at SMPA since it opened in 2005 and has incorporated the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum into the 5th and 6th grade religion curriculum for the past few years. Jim says Mutt-i-grees® has helped support the school’s culture and philosophy and reports that parents and students have responded positively to the Curriculum. He finds the Curriculum to be incredibly flexible and easy to implement.
Jim’s students have been a part of a week-long internship at North Shore Animal League America, an experience that has been life-changing for some. When asked what advice he would give to other educators interested in implementing the Curriculum, Jim had this to say:
"Keep an open ear to your students and help them to initiate programs that THEY are interested in creating and maintaining. Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Start small and let the inspiration come from the kids. It's also essential to give the students a "common experience" like a visit to a local shelter to dispel myths about dogs and also give the kids memories to work off of during the individual lessons."
Congrats Jim and keep up the good work!