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Math Teacher Neeta Sidat talking with Teaching Matters Coach Aisha Butcher

How This Teacher Engages ELL Students in Math

by Jacobē Bell, Ashley Park

According to our Fall 2023 Panorama Survey, middle school math teacher Neeta Sidat has found great success engaging her diverse group of 7th and 8th grade students at the Emerson School (Q287). Ms. Sidat emerged across the district as a “bright spot” in Classroom Engagement. This is especially true for her English language learner (ELL) students, 83% of whom reported being excited for her class.

Just because they don’t speak English… I don’t think about that as a barrier.

Neeta Sidat

What really stood out for us was her attitude towards her ELL students. In her interview with Teaching Matters coach Aisha Butcher, she stressed the importance of not making assumptions about ELL students’ capabilities. In fact, several of her ELL students perform math at a higher level. By including them with general education students and holding high expectations, they rise to the challenge.

I am just so proud of them because they have that drive.

—Neeta Sidat

Ms. Sidat’s philosophy of engagement is grounded in knowing her students. She explained how she prioritizes truly understanding each individual and tailoring her instruction to meet their needs. She relies on observational data, exit tickets, and conferences with other teachers. In learning about her students, she can draw upon their interests, form stronger relationships, and thus engage them more deeply in math.