826 Valencia is thrilled to announce that Susan DesBaillets of Grattan Elementary School is our October Teacher of the Month!

Ms. DesBaillets, or Ms. DB, as everyone calls her at school, teaches second and third grade.  With an innovative style and resourceful use of the city around her, Ms. DB has instilled creativity and a love of learning in all of her students.

A fellow teacher describes Ms. DB as, “a poet, a historian, a human rights advocate, a kind and gentle force, an artist, visual and performing, an environmentalist, an author.” And whether her students are composing odes or participating in Beach Clean Up Day, it is clear that they reap the benefits of their teacher’s many passions.

Ms. DB takes full advantage of Grattan’s close proximity to Golden Gate Park. During trips to the de Young Museum and various other sites in the park, she has wowed students and parent volunteers with her hands-on lessons.  One parent wrote, “Some of the students who often struggled to stay engaged in the classroom seemed to thrive in the midst of the Botanical Gardens or in front of a full-scale genuine work of art.” On these real-life adventures, students are able to get as close as possible to what they are studying.  And this kind of experienced-based learning doesn’t happen just on fieldtrips.

“I think Ms. DB likes dressing up” wrote a former student of hers.  Reappearing in the room as a mad scientist, she would tell his class, “Quick, they’re after me. They want the secret formula so I have to go, but I’ll teach you the trick first.”  Ms. DB never runs out of new ways to make her class exciting and engaging.

Ms. DB takes every opportunity to continue learning on her own in order always to bring new material, ideas and experiences to her students.  When she is directing the actors of her class in a play on the Thirteen Colonies or leading them through a neighborhood to study the architecture, she pours all her energy into her teaching.  Thank you, Ms. DB, for making your classes into such exhilarating and creative experiences!  We’re so fortunate to have teachers like Ms. DesBaillets in our community.


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