Leckie Elementary School, 2nd grade, Teacher for 5 years
Andrea Mercer, Leckie Elementary School | Photo by Marie Pasquel
Why did you become a teacher?
I have always liked kids, and I come from a family of teachers. I have grown up with teaching and have always enjoyed it.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Ms. Glen. She was my geometry teacher in the 7th grade. I liked her because she was so firm. Her class seemed so big when I first entered it, but by the end of the first advisory I warmed up to her. She brought math concepts out of me. I still respect her, so I always go see her whenever I can.
Three adjectives that describe your job:
Hard, exciting, fun.
What is one thing that you wish someone had told you when you were a first year teacher?
I wish someone had told me how much dedication you need to have to get results. If you lose focus, if you get off course it is like you will stop before you see the results that you can see if you just keep going. You have to finish it all out, and keep at it, even if at first it may seem like it is not working. They will blossom at the end.
What's one thing your students have taught you about being a better teacher?
They have taught me to laugh at myself. Now I can transfer it to my personal life. Teaching is serious, but some things just are not that serious and children know that.
Tell a little about a time when a student's accomplishments completely exceeded your expectations. Or, tell a little about a time when you were inspired by a student.
Last year was difficult for one of my students. He is in second grade now but had a sub all year for the first grade. He knew his alphabet and the sounds, but didn’t know how to read whole words. So I took him back to the first grade level and taught him his words.
He had a lot of energy and some behavioral problems. It was fun, but it was difficult. When he first came in, he could read 7 words. By January he had moved up to 32 words and then was on his way to fluency. I was expecting him to move up, but I didn’t know he could do that much in less than one school year (he transferred out in February).
He was so excited to read and just hadn’t been taught. He had started to blossom, and I hope to see him in the future. Even though he wasn’t at benchmark in those few months, he was on his way. He had what he needed to learn to read, and I was excited to have worked with him on phonics, his skills, the whole process of beginning to read. More than that he had gained confidence, after a complete lack of interest in picking up books when he had entered the classroom. Things like that keep you going.
Why is teaching an incredibly important job?
So many reasons. If you don’t have good teaching, the children do not learn what they need to become citizens for our future. We have to have teaching. Even if it is not in a classroom, we have to impart knowledge for children to grow and develop as human beings.
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