Sarah PolandGrade 2 Teacher
At WES Since: 2015
Prior to WES, where have you taught?
I have traveled the world and taught in a variety of settings including public and private schools in DC, Montgomery County, and abroad—Austria, Netherlands, Republic of Singapore, and Italy.
What is one of your goals as a teacher?
I want my students to know they can positively impact their communities. For example, three years ago, my students fell in love with the book Emmanuel’s Dream, an inspiring true story about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a boy from Ghana, West Africa, who overcame the challenges of having only one leg to become an athlete and activist. Seeing my students’ enthusiasm for the story, I arranged for the students to correspond with Emmanuel via letters and Facetime. The students were inspired to hold a lemonade stand and raise funds for Emmanuel’s Education Foundation, an organization that works on the behalf of the disabled in Africa.
All of these projects used a range of reading, writing, arithmetic, advocacy, and public speaking skills. The students asked me if they could meet Emmanuel, who splits his time between Africa and California. Knowing that this was a tall order, but not wanting to disappoint them, I worked persistently to fulfill the students’ request. Finally, after three years, I was able to arrange for Emmanuelle to visit WES, when he was in New York in April. In April, Emmanuel presented to students in Grades 1-5 and led a PE class for second-graders! It was a dream come true for many of the students (and me) to meet this man in person.
I have been teaching at WES since 2015. For 15 years, I taught overseas in Europe and Asia. In addition to having a passion for teaching, I enjoy many outdoor pursuits including: kayaking, bicycling, gardening, hiking, and traveling. I love to travel and as of last count has been to 60 countries. My favorite place is Maine, where I have been going every summer for over 50 years. My husband, Paul, and I live in Bethesda.
2019 Bethesda Magazine Extraordinary Teacher