Number of Years Teaching:
Different Grades that you have taught:
K, 1, 3 and 3/4 combo
How did you know that you wanted to teach early learners:
Before I became a certified teacher, I spent about 3 years subbing in classrooms K-6. I found that I loved the enthusiasm that the little ones bring. They are excited to learn and love almost everything about school. They especially love their teacher! :) Once I began my Master’s program to earn my teaching certificate, I became very interested in early literacy - the process of learning to read and write. The growth that they experience is phenomenal and I like being a part of that.
What are a few “non-negotiables” of your early learning classroom (kinda your educational philosophy)?:
The most important thing that I do to help my students learn is I work to get to know them. I don’t believe in behavior systems that reward compliance. I want them to be excited about learning. I believe in creating relationships with my kindergartners and promoting friendships between them. Kinders come into my classroom excited to learn and make friends. If you create a positive environment with high expectations they will do that. Many come into the classroom with few academic or social skills. They are all individuals. Together we work very hard to create a classroom environment where they can all grow in all their skills. So one of my non-negotiables is that every day, every student does the best they can. This will be different for different students and sometimes on different days. Joey’s best may be different than Emily’s and both may have days that are tough. Sometimes it’s been a rough morning or they are fighting a cold. Many things may affect their ability to learn. My job is to get to know them so that I know what they need as individuals. I also expect everyone to treat each other well. That includes things like working with whoever I assign to be their partner – happily -to not laughing if someone gives an answer they think in incorrect. I do not tolerate any mean or negative behavior. So if children feel loved and cared for by their teacher and classmates they are willing to take the risks that are necessary to learn.
What is something that you want us to know about you as a teacher of young children?:
People tell me all the time how patient I am with my kinders. I can honestly say that I am not a patient person. But the more that I have become familiar with the way that children develop, and with the behaviors that are typical for this age group, it makes it much easier to deal with what I used to view as misbehavior. Building relationships and really knowing your students helps with this too. Many haven’t developed self-regulation yet, but many have other reasons that may not be apparent. Also I have discovered that I set the temperature in my room. If I am excited – they will be. If I tell them how well they are doing – they do!
Anything else you would like your viewers to know?:
I would like them to know that teaching is a journey. It can be overwhelming and you will never feel like you have everything done. Be kind to yourself – take time for yourself and focus on all that you have accomplished. Try to work on developing only one area at a time. Young children are like sponges and they will learn even if you don’t have beautiful bulletin boards, present perfect lessons or have the best decorated room in the school. Also remember that you are not on the journey alone. Reach out to your colleagues for help and share what you are doing too. This will keep you sane and it helps to share the burden.