does a teacher do after leaving Lincoln
Elementary School in Highland Park?
If you are Ellie Rubenstein or Dana Lawrence Gillis, you find a different kind of classroom.
Gillis and Rubenstein opened t2 August 1 in Highland Park to offer students from kindergarten through high school what they call a "classroom beyond the classroom” giving them individual instruction or work in small groups.
“You have to be able to meet all of a student’s needs,” Gillis said saying it is difficult in the current classroom setting where she feels too much teaching is dictated by administrators. “We find out a student’s needs and what they want to learn.”
Rubenstein spent 15 years in the classroom with the last 11 at Lincoln. Gillis has taught for 12 years, six of them at Lincoln. Between them they have taught rooms of kindergartners, as well as second through fourth grade children.
Some of the time Gillis and Rubenstein help children get up to their potential while other programs are designed for the gifted trying to increase their aptitude. In either case, they give their students tools to take back to school.
“We give them things to try out in the classroom,” Gillis said. “We ask them if it worked or didn’t work.” When the latter happens, it’s time for the “classroom beyond the classroom” to take another tack with their charges.
After their combined 27 years teaching in schools, Gillis and Rubenstein came to the conclusion their creativity was being swallowed by administrative dictates. They resigned in May and by August transferred their passion to their own business.
“We love working with kids,” Rubenstein said.”We couldn’t work in such a restrictive format.”
“We realized it was no longer possible for us to teach creatively,” Gillis added.
Now they do it all including finding their own materials. “I ordered some books the other day,” Rubenstein said. “It was a joy.”