Nalle Elementary School, 1st grade, Teacher for 3 years
Why did you become a teacher?
I was a business analyst before I made a career chance and I simply realized that working with children was my calling and my passion.
Who was your favorite teacher (by name) and why?
Dr. Irene Brown taught one of the Human Development courses when I was in college. She was my favorite teacher because she showed me how much she wanted me to grow as a person. She showed me that she cared for me.
But more importantly, she respected me as a person and who I was. It wasn’t just about academics but it was about her seeing me as a person who could grow. She made me think about what it would mean to be a teacher and a great citizen.
Three adjectives that describe your job:
Challenging, vivacious, exciting,
What is one thing that you wish someone had told you when you were a first year teacher?
I wish someone had reminded me that everybody comes from a different background and everyone is unique, even if I knew that beforehand. Sometimes it is challenging for me to think outside of the box that was shaped by my childhood experiences, which are very different from that of my students.
But I realize that as a teacher, it is very crucial to constantly remind myself the uniqueness of each of my students in order to build stronger relationships with them. I must say though, that it is very challenging at times, but I put my 110% to get to know my students to understand them better.
What's one thing your students have taught you about being a better teacher?
That teaching is not really about my performance as much as it is about understanding one another and teaching one another. It doesn’t go one way from a teacher to a student, but it goes both ways.
One of the things I have learned and was reminded of this past year was that it is crucial for me to teach my students the strategies not just simple facts about various subjects, but as one of the Chinese proverbs says “Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.”
I have learned a lot from my students this past year, and I know that I will continue to learn to be a better teacher through my relationships with my students as the years go by.
Answer one or the other:
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.
Recently this has encouraged me. We have a language test called DIBELS, which tells you how your students are doing almost right away, and when my students took it, every single one of them met the benchmark, which I did not expect to see.
When my students were told that everyone did a great job, they got so excited and were even jumping up and down. I saw that the students were able to see the vitality in themselves, and wanted to learn more. This really inspired me and made me become excited about teaching because I could see directly what they had learned.
But most of all, I was reminded that it is important for me to hold faith in my students that they can achieve what they are expected to regardless of background.
Why is teaching an incredibly important job?
It impacts every aspect of a student’s life. Teachers care and develop minds and talents of their students. Teachers spend their days molding students’ characters. One of my beliefs in education, from Martin Luther King, Jr., is that “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
Education is not just about delivering information and knowledge, but it is also about building character. It is my hope that I’ll be able to make differences in their lives and in this society as I continue to grow and learn to be a better teacher. I take one step at a time, as Emerson said, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
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