A teacher who ‘rocks’

Darlene Tammara uses picture symbols to make a story more understandable to student Deborah Eike. At left is occupational therapist Debbie Goodheart.

Darlene Tammara, a teacher at the Matheny School, has been selected as one of the “Teachers Who Rock” by Greater Media radio stations WDHA 105.5FM and WMTR 1250AM. The stations annually recognize 24 outstanding teachers in New Jersey for their important contribution to society. Each Friday, two winners are announced, and their stories are read on both stations’ morning shows. Tammara’s name was announced on Friday, January 25. She and the other 23 honorees will be feted at a dinner on April 23 at Ravello Elegant Weddings & Banquets in East Hanover, NJ.

Tammara teaches a transition class at Matheny, meaning she instructs older students in life skills that will help them after they graduate. Four years ago, she started the Tea Time Café, a snack bar managed by Matheny students for Matheny employees. Her students count money from Tea Time sales, enter the results on a special math worksheet and make bank deposits.  The students also work on clerical jobs for Matheny and fill packages for Operation Shoebox, an organization that sends care packages to U.S. troops deployed overseas.

A resident of Bridgewater, NJ, Tammara appreciates Matheny’s trans-disciplinary approach, “where therapists work in the classroom with teachers. We all work together. I feel very strongly about that – it’s such a collaborative effort.” Her colleagues apparently feel the same way about Tammara as they nominated her Matheny’s educator of the year for the 2012-2013 school year.