NORTH GROVE ELEMENTARY2014-15 Teacher of the Year
Grade Level: Kindergarten
Years of Experience: 30
To me, teaching is important because:
Excerpt from Teacher of the Year application
To me, teaching is important because I can make a difference in the lives of the children I teach. When I was considering college, most girls attended college to become a teacher or a nurse. I wasn’t fond of blood or shots, so I decided to become a teacher. My parents, my first teachers, valued education and although neither of them had college degrees, continuing my education with college was expected. I loved to read and learning new things was always exciting. Of course, the teachers I had over the years inspired me to love learning. They made a difference in my life. While attending Indiana State University, my studies in education led me to special education classes. The idea of making a difference in the lives of children with special needs appealed to me, and I decided to add an endorsement in special education to my elementary education degree. After graduating from Indiana State University in the middle of the school year, I was hired to cover a maternity leave for a junior high special education class. Reflecting on that time in my career, I believe that as a new inexperienced teacher, I still made a difference in the loves of my students, I believed in them, though many didn’t believe in themselves, and I listened to them. I also was happy that their teacher returned the next school year because I wanted to teach younger children. The next year I moved to a primary special education class at Whiteland Elementary and began the road to becoming the teacher I am today. To me, teaching is important because I can make a difference in a child’s life.
My early years of teaching special education taught me that all children can learn no matter what abilities or disabilities they may possess. Each child can feel valued and important with the right encouragement, guidance, and acceptance. Parents send me their precious children for nearly 7 hours every day a little more ready to face the challenges of growing up in today’s world. Teaching is important because as a child’s teacher, I can instill a love of learning, a feeling of security, and a joy in living during the 7 hours I have that child in my classroom. I can make a difference in the child’s life and the parents’ lives. Many parents and children juggle challenging lives in today’s busy world. As the teacher, I can encourage the children, and when necessary, guide the parents to realize that school matters and success can be attained. Each child is special and has potential to learn and grow.
Over the years, my teaching took several turns. After several years of teaching special education students, I moved on to teaching second graders. Coming from the special education background, I worked to make sure each student was progressing as much as possible for his/her ability. Taking a child at his/her present level and moving him/her forward as far as possible each school year is important. Making a difference for each child is why teaching is important to me. For that reason, when my own children were born, I decided that I couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be and continue to be the teacher I wanted to be. I was fortunate enough to stay at home and be my children’s first teacher, now I have an even greater understanding of the importance of teachers in the classroom. Too soon, I had to trust my daughter’s teachers to make a positive difference in her young life.
Now I am teaching kindergarten students. I get to make their first experience in the school one that will start with them on the path to becoming lifelong learners. While it has become more difficult teaching to the new standards that have pushed so much academics into kindergarten, making learning “hands-on fun” is one of the most important things I do as a kindergarten teacher. When children are having fun, they don’t even realize all they are learning. An old Chinese proverb states it this way…”I Hear and I Forget, I See and I Remember, I Do and I Understand.” Helping young children understand and light up when they understand new concepts is so rewarding. Kindergarten students of today embrace technology and show such excitement in using all the technology available. They love to use the computers and iPads in their classrooms. Understanding the fast changing technological advances of today will be part of these children’s lives, and they must be ready to meet the challenge. Today’s children will live in a very different world when they become adults. If educators don’t instill a love of learning in the children they teach, the adults of tomorrow will find it difficult to meet the challenges of the world.
Teaching is important to me because each day I get to inspire, encourage, laugh. Love , hug, play, guide, challenge, praise, and yes, teach little children who will someday become the leaders, inventors, workers, and parents of our communities. I get to make a difference to that young child for that one year of his/her life.