Meet Rose Cherussery, a Kent Island mom of three, a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, a pre-service teacher educator, and the founder of Classroom For Change. Her mission is to create classrooms + communities that change the world by promoting equity in education and collectively working to improve the lives of children, youth, + families through changemaking research, policy, + practice.
Rose explains how being a forever learner expands children’s knowledge of the world and why time is the best gift for loved ones.
Tell us a little bit about you and your family! Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in the area?
Hi, Annapolis Moms Network! I’m Rose, and I’m honored to be featured in this month’s Meet a Mom! I am currently a second-year Ph.D. student studying Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a former classroom teacher, I taught brilliant children with dyslexia and other learning differences in grades 1-8. Now, I work with preservice teachers as a teacher educator. I am also the founder of Classroom For Change. My favorite title of all, however, is “Mama.” I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. As a child, I lived in Pasadena, Baltimore, Catonsville, and Clarksville. After my husband and I got married, we lived in Annapolis for a few years. We fell in love with Kent Island soon after and decided to put down roots and call it home in 2014. My husband George and I are high school sweethearts and together we have three children, Eva, Isaiah, & Malia.
You’re an educator and the founder of Classroom for Change. How did you get to your career today?
I dreamed of becoming a teacher since I was a child. I have always loved being in school settings where hope is palpable and possibilities fill the air. There’s a certain energy that surrounds teaching and learning. It fuels me and motivates me. The thought of being able to promote reading, writing, and creativity while making a difference in lives led me to pursue a career in teaching. The kids and youth that I have worked with are changemakers in their own right and will without a doubt make a difference in this world. It’s the same passion that led me to start Classroom for Change.
Classroom for Change began as a graduate course final project. Now it’s a powerful force for positive change through education and activism. What is your mission? How can we be part of the change?
What began as a final project for a graduate course turned into a creative solution to an age-old problem. Through my graduate studies, it became apparent that there is a clear disconnect between research, policy, and practice and I wanted to do something about it. In 2018, Classroom for Change was born. My work focuses on promoting equity in education and embracing the beautiful diversity of our world in ways that amplify, uplift, and empower those who have been historically marginalized. Our collective mission at Classroom for Change is to create classrooms and communities that change the world. As cliché as that might sound, it’s true.
I believe change begins but doesn’t end with one person. All of us can make an impact in our own spheres of influence.
Our Classroom Community is made up of educators, principals, parents, students, authors, scholars, community leaders, entrepreneurs, and more, and imagining what we can do together is exciting. At Classroom for Change, I focus on three tenets: teaching, learning, and leading. I am working towards a Ph.D. so that one day Classroom for Change can be my sole focus.
For now, one way to support me and my work is to engage with the content I create and share the information, strategies, resources, etc. that you find helpful with your networks. For anyone interested, I invite you to join our community of changemakers by following @classroomforchange on social media and subscribing to my newsletter at www.classroomforchange.com. I look forward to connecting with you! 🙂
What advice do you have for parents to be an example for their children to fearlessly teach, learn, and lead to be part of the change?
My number one piece of advice is to never stop seeking knowledge and chasing growth. Expand your and your children’s knowledge of the world and the people in it. Read, watch, listen, and critically evaluate the information you take in. Then, as the wise Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, do better”.
How has your job shifted your perspective of motherhood?
It’s more of the opposite for me – motherhood has shifted my perspective of work. Now, my family is my priority and work comes second. I do what I can within the workday or workweek and I set limitations so that I don’t overextend myself and burn out. Motherhood has taught me to prioritize my health and my needs. I am protective of the time I have set aside for me and my family and I try to not let anything get in the way of that.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
One thing people would be surprised to know about me is that my parents own an Indian restaurant in historic Mount Vernon, Baltimore called Indigma (a portmanteau fusion of the words ‘Indian’ and ‘enigma’). Indigma is a modern Indian bistro.
What’s something you love that’s just for you?
Something that I love that’s just for me is GIRL TIME or MOM TIME! Getting together with friends and other moms is food for my soul.
Best mom hack that makes your life easier.
I have several “mom hacks,” but my favorites have to be (in no particular order): a posted chart of a variety of activities the kids can engage in if they are looking for something to do at home, a designated day of the week for each parent to rest or go out, a shared Google calendar with the hubby to keep all our schedules straight, and Target drive-up for curbside pickup!
Name something you hope your children look back and remember about their childhood and you as their mama.
When my children grow up, I hope they can look back on the adventures and memories we’ve shared together and feel the love that filled every moment.
What’s your favorite family activity to do in the area?
Our favorite family activities in the area include exploring the cross island trail and visiting one of Kent Island’s best-kept secrets, Terrapin Nature Park and Beach.
What have you learned from your children?
My children have taught me that the best gift I can give them is time–time with each one individually and together as a family.
Greatest gift about being a mom.
As a mama, my greatest gifts are my children. They are my pride, my joy, & my light.
Best advice for mom guilt.
Take time for you because as the old wise saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” By taking care of yourself, you can be your best self.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today?
My kids, my mom, and the other moms in my life inspire me and have shaped me to be the mom I am today. Motherhood is a journey and there’s an evolution that we go through as moms.
Classroom For Change was founded by Rose Cherussery, a proud mama, fearless educator, and forever learner. As an elementary + middle school teacher turned teacher educator and now a Ph.D. student, she’s dedicated her life to teaching + empowering kids and adults to be change agents for good. She created Classroom For Change as a way to bring about positive change to the classroom + beyond.
Join the Classroom Community to stay current on the topics that matter, get the inspiration + resources you need for fearless teaching, learning, + leading, and be the change agent the world needs you to be!
We love to support local businesses! What are your favorite local places to:
Get coffee & a quick bite: A Little Lovely Coffeehouse in Queenstown and Yo Java Bowl Cafe in Chester
Get dessert: Dessert First in Grasonville
Get my bubbletea fix: Kung Fu Tea
Get a good workout: Foundations Island Yoga
Meet other moms: Moms in Motion
Go on a date night: That’s hard to say. Date nights are rare, but we keep things interesting by exploring new places, eating out at different restaurants, and catching concerts!
Dine with friends: Libbey’s Coastal Kitchen + Cocktails and The Choptank
Get takeout: Bark Barbecue, Frix’s Fire Grill, Carmine’s N.Y. Pizza Kitchen, & Shogun Sushi
Get my hair done: Hudson & Fouquet Salon
Get my nails done: Glow Nail Bar
Get my church on: Bay Area Community Church
Shop: Etsy, Target, Francesca’s, Half Full, & Hope Boutique
Have fun as a family: The bay and the beach!