Buena Vista Elementary School
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
I have the wonderful privilege of working with a diverse group of fourth graders each and every day. We spend our day working collaboratively on a number of engaging learning experiences that often include technology, project based learning, and integration. You will often find us seated in a circle on our class carpet enjoying a great book together through reading and discussion. My role as an educator within the walls of my classroom is to inspire and empower my students as they work to meet their learning goals. I am a facilitator, cheerleader, and accountability partner for each student. I also spend a great deal of time outside my classroom walls working with other educators within my school and district. We work together to develop, implement, and assess instructional strategies that will best meet the needs of the students we serve.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
Relationships are the foundation for establishing and maintaining a supportive learning environment that enables ALL students to thrive.
3.) Why did you become an educator?
I have always loved the energy and creativity of a classroom. I was fortunate to have numerous teachers in my life who inspired me on my educational journey. Teaching provides a perfect outlet for me to utilize my natural gifts of creativity and mentorship. I seek out opportunities to develop learning experiences that engage and challenge students in order to help them become well-rounded learners.
4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?
As an SCASCD Emerging leader I hope to contribute to the advancement of South Carolina ASCD’s mission of improving the craft of all educators and enriched learning for all students. As a classroom teacher, I see first-hand the need for positive influences in educational research, policy, and practice in curriculum and instruction. I hope my involvement will provide opportunities to work with educators across South Carolina so that we can advocate for curriculum and instruction that supports the whole child. We must work together to promote instruction that allows students to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. These tenets should not be privileges for just a few learners, but instead rights for all learners. The Emerging Leaders Program will allow me to share my experiences and learn from other professionals so that we can build a stronger community of educators who serve all learners well.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
I thoroughly enjoy participating in professional development experiences to extend my knowledge and collaborate with other educators. A few books that have greatly impacted my career are The Framework of Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne, When Writer’s Drive the Workshop by Brian Kissel, and From Striving to Thriving by Harvey and Ward. These books emphasize the importance of understanding the child first in order to develop instruction to best meet his or her individual needs. These works have greatly impacted my approach to teaching as I work to serve a diverse group of learners.
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
I do not have a singular pivotal moment. However, each time a child realizes his or her potential, perseveres through a difficult situation, or falls in love with a book I am reminded that my career choice was the right path for my life. Educators have the beautiful burden of loving and serving students well, and in doing so help develop educated, discerning, and compassionate citizens. There is no greater career than one that helps others find their own path impacting the world around them.
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about education it would be that legislators, educators, and stakeholders work in unison to develop appropriate standards and assessments that support the development of the whole child.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
My most rewarding experience as an educator has been developing meaningful relationships with students that support and empower them to achieve their goals. It is humbling to think that I have had the great privilege to work with over three hundred students just within the walls of my elementary classroom. Looking back on my first year of teaching, I cringe thinking about how little I knew about best practices in curriculum and instruction. However, I knew as a first year teacher if I could focus my energy on building relationships with students and understanding who they were inside and outside of the classroom, they would be successful. My classroom and practices look very different from fifteen years ago, but my approach to teaching remains the same. Developing relationships with students and seeing them for who they are and what they can be is the most rewarding experience as an educator.