Rachel Otty is the 2010 recipient of the Richard Aieta Award for Promising New Teacher presented by the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS) to a social studies teacher, new to the profession, who has made an impact on his/her students, colleagues and/ or the community during their first five years of teaching. The award is presented during the Council’s Northeast Regional Conference for the Social Studies (NERC), an annual conference drawing participants from all over New England, and around the country.
The Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS) http://www.masscouncil.org is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit educational organization. It is a network of social studies educators who work at every level of schooling. They communicate with each other through publications and meetings. They broaden their communication by working with related professional associations, government, and private agencies. MCSS is affiliated with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) http://www.ncss.org and participates fully in that organization’s efforts to advance the profession. NCSS encourages the highest standards of teaching, teacher preparation, and curriculum development.
Ms. Otty is a member of the history faculty at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. She teaches grades 10-12. As a teacher, she has the right mix of intelligence, organization, pedagological skills, leadership, and patience in the practice of teaching to ignite the spark of curiosity and a true sense of personal civic accountability in her students.
Recently, Rachel wrote; “As an educator and citizen of the world, it is my goal to instill in my students the importance of understanding how others live and think. I believe this understanding enables my students to go into the world responsibly and with an awareness and ability to make change in ways that do not hurt others.”
Rachel’s Modern World History class studied globalization and sustainable development. They examined poverty alleviation through the lens of micro credit programs. Then they conducted a four-day project where they worked in groups to research a developing country, then created a micro credit business plan and visual aid, and presented their formal proposals to a “board” of micro credit lenders who determined whether their program was sustainable. The public presentations of their projects raised money to help sustain real “micro-businesses” in countries around the world.
The students who sit in front of her every day consider themselves fortunate to have such a gifted teacher. She is highly respected by her colleagues and in the community in which she lives. Rachel embodies the values, enthusiasm, and energy Dick Aieta brought to his classroom and to the field of social studies every day.
Rachel will receive NERC registration and one night stay at the hotel, membership to the National Councill for the Social Studies (NCSS), MCSS and her Local Council and $100 to purchase curriculum materials. In return the Promising Teacher agrees to write an article for NEWSLINE on the NERC or on a Social Studies topic of his/her choice and present at a future NERC. This year’s NERC conference will be held March 22-25, 2010, at the Sturbridge Host Hotel, in Sturbridge, MA.