Michelle Berry's Homepage









Rosie the Riveter

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is my vocation, and I love it.  I come from a liberal arts background and so believe in education’s vast potential for freeing students to explore the myriad of talents they possess. I also believe that knowledge is power and in order for my students to attain their highest goals, they must not just know information, they must be facile in the analysis of its source and of its merit.  I strive to always empower my students to discover the great insights history has to share for them in their own lives and in the broader world into which they will venture. I expect much indpendence of thought in my classroom and much hard work, but I also expect that our learning community is one in which we all rely on each other to be our best selves. I believe, as bell hooks has said, that classrooms are “radical spaces of possibility.” Because of that I continually strive to improve my own abilities in the classroom. I readily adopt progressive technologies where I believe they will serve our larger learning goals and objectives, but I also strive to teach my students to value time-honored ways of knowledge acquisition. I do my very best to teach not just information but skills as well that will serve my students as they embark on the great project of learning about the past in the service of the present. Because I believe that teaching is one of the most effective methods available for creating a thoughtful, informed citizenry dedicated to  bettering the world, I take my job very seriously, while also allowing for the great humor that visits my classroom daily.  The better I am as a teacher, the better my students will be, and the better the world will become. And at the end of the day, that is why I teach.


Coaching Philosophy

My coaching philosophy is similar to my teaching philosophy because I believe that every coach is an educator (or should be). I coach in order to facilitate my athletes' aquisition of life skills and democratic values. I work diligently to promote in my athletes a commitment to hard work by modeling it. I give 100% to each player and each season and I expect my players to do the same. I hope very much to teach my student-athletes that commitment to the greater good is always more rewarding than commitment to one's own needs, and that to achieve the greatest good for the team, one must learn to balance one's own needs with that of the team's needs, always. I also expect my athletes to commit themselves to treating their bodies with respect and love and to cultivate a commitment to bodily health that will serve them their entire lives. This includes a commitment to eating beautiful foods thoughtfully cultivated as well as pushing one's body to go that extra bit in order to excel just that much more, while always maintaining committment to one's well being. I think it is important for young women, in particular, to come to love their bodies and honor their balanced health, especially in a culture which tells them to only value their bodies through the eyes of others. For me as both an athlete and as a coach, athletics has been a conduit for learning life skills. There are no greater project based learning or service based learning opportunitites than those afforded to every team on and off the court. There the service is to one's teammates and the project is to put together a season that stands in the athlete's memory as one of the best times of that athlete's life (win or lose). As my athletes move forward from high school, I hope that they will understand that the real achievement of their athletic careers is the aquisition of their abilities to lead, to strive, to fail, to learn, to care, to follow, and to believe (in themselves and those around them).