New York Islanders May 2024 Teacher of the Month

Future GoalsTM Program

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New York Islanders May 2024 Teacher of the Month


Melissa Hayden


Memorial Junior High School

Classroom Team:

Tell us about yourself!

I’ve been teaching since 1995, and began my career teaching Art. Over the years I transitioned to teaching more and more technology based courses. I worked for the NYC School for Collaborative Studies, and Teaching Matters,Inc before moving on to Valley Stream Central High School District in 2002 as an independent consultant primarily focusing on the integration of technology into the curriculum. I have been teaching in my current classroom for 20 years this year as an instructor of Engineering Technology and S.T.E.M as part of the Career and Technical Education department. This role combines my love of Art and Technology as I use the Engineering Design Process as the tool for children to understand problem solving and figure out how to effect the world around them positively.

What is your favorite part of the Future Goals™program? How do you see STEM in the game of hockey?

My favorite part of the Future Goals program is that they are making STEM concepts relatable. Having students understand the concepts of problem solving has beneficial impacts that have will have residual effects in all aspect of their lives. Talking about plays, players, strategy and even trading and managing the team are all great tasks that lead to higher level thinking skills. Critical thinking is the one concept that we can be sure all of our learners will need in their future.

Who is your favorite NHL® player and why?

How can you not love Mathew Barzal? He is on fire even when he is not handling the puck like a god. His energy as an obvious team leader gets everyone going, and keeps them together. He has been the spark that they needed since he came to the team, and his part of the glue that is the core of the team. Yay #13!!!

If you played hockey, what position would you play?

If I was to play hockey I would be a defenseman. I find it motivating to think of defending the goal. I also love the Islanders style of play inwhich they really have their defenseman support the whole ice. Young Dobson is showing this with his numbers. I love the comraderie on the ice, and like that the defenseman play in teams of two. I think playing with a subset of the team is a beneficial way to break down the responsibilites of the larger system.