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Teacher Spotlight: Emily Dunlavey

Name: Emily Dunlavey

Grade: Second

Your background:

I graduated from Sacred Heart University with my Masters in Education in 2006. It took me 8 years and 4 colleges to figure it all out! I worked with school aged children in the Danbury Public School system for 6 years and conducted my internship and student teaching in Newtown. I then taught 4th grade at Jefferson Elementary School in Norwalk for 4 years before I transferred to Marvin. I have been at Marvin for 11 years and have taught 2nd, 4th and 5th grade.

What do you love about teaching 2nd grade?

Second grade is my favorite grade I have taught so far in my career. As a parent of twin boys the same age as my students, I can relate to a lot of what is going on with my students in class. Second graders are excited about coming to school and love to learn new things. They are so fun to be around and they help remind me how magical and brief our childhood really is. I am blessed to spend each day with them. Another reason I love second grade is because I get to work with the most caring, smart and hysterical teachers I know- Mrs. Chase, Mrs. Nguyen and Mrs. Suda.

Teachers are the frontline workers for our children in this pandemic. What has been your biggest challenge or adjustment this year?

My biggest challenge this year is not being able to have the closeness that we usually get to have in our classrooms. Staying 6 feet away is difficult, both physically and emotionally! I miss students working side by side and sharing materials with partners and working in small groups at a table, class buddies, assemblies and school wide events. It is a challenge to keep a sense of community with so many restrictions, but I am proud of how creative I have been to make it work.

What is your biggest motivation this year and what are you most proud of?

My students are my greatest motivation. I want to make our class a joyful, safe, and fun learning environment for everyone.

Why did you become a teacher?

I was not one of those people who grew up always wanting to be a teacher. Truthfully, I dreaded going to school every day of elementary school as a child. I felt dumb and had anxiety in school. I prayed that the teacher would never call on me. But when I was a junior in High School my English teacher, Mr. Dansdill, changed my perspective of what school could be like. He started every class by asking us the same question- “What is the meaning of life?” I was in heaven! This was a teacher who dared to educate his students outside the box of the curriculum and the tests. I wanted to be a teacher like him and make sure no students in my classroom would have to feel the way I did when I was young.

A fun fact about you!

I have multiple certifications in the Healing Arts. My most recent as a Reiki Master this past summer.

Thank you for ALL you do for Marvin students, Mrs. Dunlavey!

What we love about Mrs. Dunlavey!

“Mrs. Dunlavey is extremely dedicated to her students and is in constant communication with parents. She creates a warm, cooperative environment in her classroom and always models and encourages kindness. She has been so supportive throughout all of the challenges that this school year has presented to us and manages to make learning fun each and every day! Mrs. Dunlavey is a wonderful 2nd grade teacher!”

- Kara Slatterly, current Marvin parent

"Mrs. Dunlavey has gone above and beyond the call of duty this year in providing an enjoyable and stimulating class experience in a harsh and unpredictable environment".

- Joe Filippetti, current Marvin parent

"I love seeing Mrs. Dunlavey every day. I don't like remote days or days when she is not in class because she is sick or hurt since we are not in class together."

- Theresa Filippetti, current student

“Eloise had a great time in Mrs Dunlavey's 5th Grade class. She was understanding and always available for questions and concerns.”

- Rachel Strabley, former Marvin parent

“Mrs Dunlavey was a very understanding teacher and she definitely made an effort to make every student feel heard and acknowledged. Plus, she always did her best to make her classes fun!”

- Eloise Strabley, former Marvin student

“She was very caring towards her students, she really engaged us during the day our school work and Introduced us to different things. She really understood us and cared.”

- Andrew Mills, current 10th grader at Norwalk High School

“I can’t say enough about Mrs. Dunlavey! She always greeted me with a smile and a kind word. She is a very dedicated teacher who cares about education and her students! I will never forget how excited she was when, during the 1st week of school, I brought in a wasps nest (not active of course!) and she couldn’t wait to show my son’s class. That’s when I knew it was going to be a great year and she was an awesome teacher! Both of my boys were fortunate to have her as a teacher!”

- Sarah Amato, Mom of former Marvin Students Andrew and Ian Mills

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