Teacher Highlight: ELL Teacher Incorporates Core Values into Her Everyday Life

By Kate Anslinger

One of the many reasons why Ivy Bernier loves teaching is because she is immersed in other cultures that she actively learns from every day. As an English language teacher at the Arthur T. Cummings School, Bernier’s job is to validate diversity and help students who come from other parts of the world to learn English.

The longtime teacher hails from a small town located in the Northeast corner of Connecticut. After she graduated from Woodstock Academy, Bernier attended the University of Connecticut and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders. She then went on to attain her master’s degree in special education from American International College, but the learning has never stopped and she will gladly take on any educational endeavor, as she naturally loves to learn.

Bernier tells us a bit about her love of horses, her role as a camp counselor and all those teachers who inspired her along the way.

Did you always want to be a teacher?

Kind of. People around me would often tell me I would make a good teacher when I was younger. I attended camp every summer as a child, and always admired my camp counselors (who were often teachers). I soon became a camp counselor, and quickly discovered my ability to lead a group of children to success. I loved learning new things and never wanted to miss a day of school. These experiences are all what led me down the path to become an educator.

If you weren’t a teacher what other professions could you see yourself doing?

If I didn’t become a teacher, I would definitely want to pursue my favorite hobby and work with horses in some capacity. Horseback riding is my therapy, and I don’t think I could live without it. I could also see myself doing something with books and art. I love to read, and I love to paint, so maybe an illustrator for graphic novels.

Is there someone who inspired you to get into this career field?

I would say there are several inspirational people in my life that lead me to education. My teachers in elementary school each left lasting memories that I will cherish forever. Whether it was my second- grade teacher who always had a stash of stuffed animals for when we sat on the rug and sang every chance she had…or my fourth grade teacher who taught us the importance of creativity through projects and plays, or my eighth-grade teacher who would often take the classroom outside to learn by doing and seeing. As a teacher, I aim to inspire my students in a way that may one day influence their careers.

Do your students inspire you?

Every day. I love learning from my students. They teach me to never stop learning. Watching my students learn reminds me to practice our school’s core values: perseverance, respect, inspiration, dream and engagement. Many of my students can speak other languages. I think that is such a great skill. If I could have a super power it would be to speak and understand every language our world has to offer.

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