The MMS Blog

Meet Dr. Koh and Mr. Litt, Upper Elementary’s New Teachers

Two teachers are joining the MMS veterans in Upper Elementary this year. Meet Mr. Litt, who is teaching fourth grade social studies and fifth grade language arts, as well as Dr. Koh, who is teaching fourth grade math, and fifth and sixth grade science. 

Mr. Litt

(1) Give us a preview of some of the things you’re most excited to teach.
Two of the things that I’m most excited to teach are the American Revolution in fourth grade Social Studies and Wonder in fifth grade language arts. I feel like the American Revolution is one of the most important periods in American history, but I also think it’s ripe for opportunities to discuss what was problematic about the documents that were produced during, and as a result of, that conflict. (To name just two: women are completely left out of the Declaration of Independence as Jefferson writes, “All men are created equal,” and the Constitution, while attempting to be the organizing document of a free and democratic people, made slavery legal and did not give women or African-Americans the right to vote.) In terms of Wonder, I think it’s a very inspiring story with a wonderful message, but I also think that it’s an extremely well-written book and provides a great opportunity to practice reading a book where the perspective of the narrator changes.

(2) Where have you worked previously and what drew you to MMS?
Before MMS, I worked at a charter school for a year and at a private school in Brooklyn for two years. The thing that drew me to MMS was the opportunity to collaborate with the other teachers to such a large extent. The fact that I have four other teachers on a teaching team has already helped as I settle in at MMS.

(3) And tell us a little bit more about yourself: where you grew up; what you studied at college; the kind of schools you went to as a child…
I was born in New Hampshire, but I grew up in Westchester before going to college in Michigan. I majored in history and Spanish in college, two of my favorite subjects in high school. I have also always loved reading, so it’s very exciting to teach literature. As a child, I never went to Montessori schools, but my father did, and he has very fond memories of his experiences in a Montessori school.

(4) What about MMS seems distinctive to you now that you’ve been here for a few weeks?
I like that the curriculum is not set in stone. This is one of the most distinctive things about MMS, and I think it also contributes to the distinctive quality of education that the students are getting. I think at least partially because teachers are so passionate about the material they’re teaching, the students are very invested in their own learning.

Dr. Koh

(1) Give us a preview of some of the things you’re most excited to teach.
I’ve always liked Math challenges, and I look forward to helping students become effective problem solvers by developing logical thought processes, awareness to detail, and independence as thinkers. I hope that as the year goes on, they will become better communicators in math and be able to master the skills so they are ready for the expectations in future math courses. I find joy in engaging students in class, and there is nothing more fun than surprising my students in a science lab. My goal in science is to help students discover the world around us – by actively observing, asking good questions, and testing hypotheses that they come up with.

(2) Where have you worked previously and what drew you to MMS?
I taught math and science at Riverdale Country School and Fieldston Middle School. I got to know about MMS through a diversity job fair that was organized by NYSAIS last year.

(3) And tell us a little bit more about yourself: where you grew up; what you studied at college; the kind of schools you went to as a child…
I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and came to the United States for graduate study.

(4) What about MMS seems distinctive to you now that you’ve been here for a few weeks?
To know that a school cares about diversity in their community definitely made a difference in my choosing to come to MMS. After a couple of visits, I was impressed with both the academic program in the Upper Elementary and the attention given to individual students. MMS does not have a big campus like where I used to work, but the beautiful and open teaching spaces are second to none. I enjoyed getting to know my students and colleagues, and I look forward to more professional growth at MMS.

Posted on September 27, 2018 in