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Crystall Chappell

Monaview Elementary School


1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?


I teach some of the most amazing 4th grade students at a Title I school in Greenville County. This is my first year teaching 4th grade and I absolutely love working with my students. My students are such a sweet and eager to learn group of kids!

This year I have been the inclusion teacher for my grade level, therefore I get the opportunity to work with some of our fabulous resource teachers.

Our day begins with breakfast in the classroom, followed by inclusion math.This gives me the opportunity to work one-on-one with all of my students in a small group to meet their individual needs.We then have our writing workshop inspired by the Lucy Caulkins writing series.We then have inclusion reading and this gives me the opportunity to read with students in their guided reading groups.I love talking about books with my students and learn about their interests.I also teach reading mini lessons and my class really enjoys active discussions about books (also inspired by the Lucy Caulkins reading series).One of the best things about teaching 4th grade students is the opportunity I get to learn from them!They teach me so much every day!Being a classroom opportunity is truly one of the greatest blessings I can think of because it gives the opportunity to serve, love, and grow as an individual!


2.)  What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?


Highly engaging and rigorous academic instruction plus love and support provide students with unlimited opportunities for success!


3.) Why did you become an educator?


I was in the 3rd grade when a teacher inspired me to think about my future career.  Throughout the year with her love, guidance, and encouragement, Mrs. Candy Bell lit a passion in me for teaching.  It became certain through the Teacher Cadet program in high school, that teaching was my destiny! 

4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?


I hope to promote and share best practices that I have used in the classroom.  I strongly believe that it is important for teachers to share ideas and strategies that work.


5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?


The Upstate Writing Project changed my life!  It has been such an amazing community of teachers that support me in learning about ways to effectively teach writing and continue to grow as a writer myself.  Through the project I have become involved in SCCTE and this has helped me research, write, present, and publish my professional research.  Another organization that has made a difference in my career is SCIRA!

Authors such as Ralph Fletcher, Lucy Caulkins, and Fountas and Pinnell have shaped the way I teach. 

One of the most powerful books that I have read to date is The Wild Card.  That book has helped me realize that school should be fun and engaging in order to really keep students inspired to continue learning.  It really helped me reflect on the effectiveness of some of the practices I have used in my own classroom.


6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.   


Many individuals outside of education believe, that teacher’s sole responsibility is to walk into a classroom and deliver instruction.  However, it’s so much more than that.  It’s about the relationships you build with students and their families!  During my 4th year of teaching, I experienced my pivotal moment where I realized that education was the right path for me.  It was through my relationship with one particular set of siblings that made me realize that I could not have dreamed of a better career.  I taught 2 of the three brothers and tutored their other brother.  These boys were constantly bringing me letters and cards for my birthday and special holidays.  However, it was the handmade card that I received when the middle brother was preparing to leave 5th grade that will forever leave a mark on my heart!  In his card, he told me about how difficult their home life was and how he looked forward to coming to school every day because he of my class.  He expressed how I inspired him to continue his education to become more than what his family had.  Words cannot express how much this meant to me.  It is something that I remind myself of each morning as I begin my day.  I remind myself no matter how difficult and demanding my career can become, if I can just reach one student and make a difference, it’s worth it!


7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?


I strongly believe that our state needs more literacy programs that promote the love of literacy.  This especially includes the need for stronger writing programs.  This is one reason that I am a mentor teacher for the Upstate Writing project and a continued member in SCIRA.  Our communities need access to more books and programs that promote the love for reading and writing.  These programs need to come to the communities in which we serve.


8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?


The most rewarding thing about my job as an educator is that it matters every day.  Every day I walk in to my classroom with a plan, but as the day goes on that plan changes multiple times a day.  I get the opportunity to take on so many roles for my students that shape them into the individuals they will be in the future. I give my students my all, because they deserve it. I know that what I do is important and it’s not just the content that I teach that is essential, but it’s the life lessons that I have the opportunity to instill in them that is truly what matters!  As an educator, I help shape the future.

Eight Questions For SCASCD Emerging Leaders

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