Helen Potter

Middle School English, Grade Leader 6th
B.A., Loyola University Maryland
M.S., Loyola University Maryland
"I always tell the students to do the best they can and to feel good about that! They should take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities here at BL and not be afraid to step out of their comfort zones. Someone is always here to help them should they "fall" and need to "get back" on track."

Email Address: hpotter@boyslatinmd.com

Phone Number: 410-377-5192 ext. 3013

Joined Boys' Latin: 
2000

Classes:
Middle School English, 6th Grade

Extracurricular:
Co-sponsor, Middle School Spirit Club

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Education & Professional Training:
B.A., Loyola University Maryland
M.S., Loyola University Maryland

Teaching Experience:
Speech Language Pathologist, Baltimore City Public Schools
Speech Language Pathologist, Baltimore County Schools

Teaching At BL:
Mrs. Potter's approach to teaching begins with seeing each boy as an individual rather than just part of a whole class. She teaches her students as she hopes someone would teach her own children - with patience, kindness, openness to learning styles, and a willingness to do what it takes to help each student succeed. She uses multimodality teaching with many opportunities for the boys to be part of the learning process and ensures her boys understand that help is always available.

"Sixth grade boys are the best. At this age, they are learning to be more independent and take on more responsibility for their learning, which includes accepting help. It is great to see them use self-advocacy skills and the smiles on their faces during those 'aha' moments when they grasp a particularly challenging lesson or concept."

To encourage an appreciation of reading in her students, Mrs. Potter likes to recommend young adult books to her students. "Often, when a boy reads the first book in a series, and likes it, there is no stopping him," she says. She has also found that turning grammar activities into competitions really improves motivation to learn and absorb material.

Through more than 15 years of teaching at BL, Mrs. Potter has enjoyed the family atmosphere and the the support system provided by her colleagues. "We are able to collaborate with each other and come up with new ideas for teaching. If our grade wants to do a cross-curriculum project with a culminating field trip, we are allowed to do so. We also have a wonderful ESS department which has been most beneficial in helping several of my students over the years," she says.

Her greatest rewards come in the spring, though, when she sees the students she taught in sixth grade walk across the stage during graduation.

What's More:
Mrs. Potter has been married for more than three decades and she and her husband have two adult daughters, Leanne and Sarah, and are also legal guardians for their little boy, Corey.

In addition to spending time with her family, walking her dogs and gardening, Mrs. Potter is an avid reader, particularly of young adult novels so that she has a current list of books on hand at all times to recommend to her sixth graders. One of her favorites is Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, because of its emphasis on acceptance, compassion and empathy, traits she came to value enormously while working at the Maryland School for the Blind during graduate school. Mrs. Potter is also a substitute teacher for Children's Sunday Faith Formation classes.

If Mrs. Potter were not working at BL, she says that she'd probably want to spend time caring for animals at a shelter or working with elementary school students one-on-one to help with math, reading, and spelling. She might also enjoy working with senior adults who need someone to take them to doctor's appointments, bring them groceries or just sit, talk and share a meal.
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