Faculty Profile: Erik Romano, Lower School Science Teacher
October 21, 2021
Tell us about your path to Léman.
Growing up in Virginia, I always loved science. My high school chemistry teacher sparked an interest in doing active explorations and experiments. I studied science at Williams College with a focus on biology, psychology, and neuroscience. I did some teaching while I was in college, tutoring and mentoring local elementary and middle school students which is when I decided I wanted to become a teacher.
My first job after college was as a 2nd-grade associate teacher and a science teacher at a school in Menlo Park, California. I was there for four years. The science teacher I worked with had been at the school for 30 years and I learned a lot about science teaching philosophies from her and how to not only make science class a place where we can build strong foundations of science skills and habits but also spark a love of learning and excitement and joy around learning science. Following that job, I worked at Dalton for two years as a Science Associate Teacher and then I applied to the job at Léman and I was thrilled to be hired.
What do you like about teaching science to students in Lower School?
I enjoy teaching kids this age because they have such wonder and excitement for trying new things. It's especially fun when we're doing something in the classroom that's a brand new skill or a brand new material for them because the feeling in the classroom feeds off that excitement and creates a positive environment for learning for the entire class. I want to strike the balance between having fun and learning through active exploration and hands-on inquiry while developing skills like critical thinking and problem-solving.
Why do you think it's important for children this age to be getting hands-on experience in the science classroom?
Like a lot of students when I was growing up, I didn't have active science in a lab until High School. It was just learning through a textbook. I think when you're actively exploring materials and doing experiments, you're going to absorb and retain the information more efficiently and appreciate what you're learning.
I see hands-on inquiry as a vehicle to build important skills like critical thinking and problem-solving. When students test things and it doesn't work out and they're able to try something new and be open to thinking that failure is a great thing so you can try something new, it gives you information to try something different. I think that's probably what my most important takeaway is for these kids is to build those skills.
What do you like about teaching at an IB school?
Many of the IB learner traits are familiar to me and similar to the way I've taught at other schools, however, Léman takes it to another level. We are also more standards-focused than the schools I've worked at. I'm thinking more about the benchmarks for each grade and how I can meet those benchmarks while focusing on the traits of an IB Learner. I want to build a good foundation for learning so when my students go to middle school they can be more comfortable and confident in what they do.
What are your impressions of Léman so far?
From the first day of orientation, I felt a warm, welcoming energy among the faculty and staff. I made a group of friends during the first couple of days. Everyone is really kind and open. The students are so enthusiastic about learning. They are open to asking questions and trying new things. That hasn't always been the case at other schools I've worked at so I can already tell that Léman is a special place.