Taylor Whitmore: Kindergarten teacher at St. Patrick’s School

Photo provided by Taylor Whitmore

1. Tell me about your background and how you joined St. Patrick’s in Oneida?

While in college, I was a preschool teacher at a local daycare for two years until I graduated. I went on to be a substitute teacher for six months. One of the teachers I became close with, as I subbed in her classroom many times, messaged me and told me there was an opening at St. Patrick’s School. She recommended I fill out an application. I was hired the Friday before Labor Day and only had two days to prepare and get everything ready in the classroom for orientation. It was a very stressful start, but I had the help of coworkers and families from the school to help make the transition easy. I have been teaching kindergarten for four years at St. Patrick’s School and I love it!

2.  What is a skill that you think is important to instill in kindergarten students?

One skill I think is important for students starting out in kindergarten is to be a problem-solver. Many times, an issue can arise in a classroom. I have the children try to come up with a way to fix the problem or solve the issue on their own. For example, many times a student’s pencil will break when they are in the middle of writing. They will raise their hand and say, “My pencil broke,” and I will say, “OK, what should you do?” The children will have to come up with a plan on how to fix their pencil. Being able to solve problems will help students in the long run, and is a skill they will need for the rest of their life.

3.  What’s the most challenging part of teaching and how do you overcome that?

The most challenging part of teaching is not having enough time! There are so many wonderful activities and lessons that I would love to teach the children, but there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all of them. To overcome this issue, I try and incorporate the activities into other areas and if we finish a lesson early, I will squeeze it in. I try to have things prepared if we have time, but if not, I will save the materials for next year and try again.

4.  How do you keep learning fun for such a young age?
We do a lot of singing in kindergarten. The kids love it, especially if they have funny dance moves to go along with it. In my classroom, our morning is full of small groups or center time. We have ELA centers and then math centers after a snack. This is the students’ favorite part of the day. The centers are short, which is great for their short attention span, and they are moving around the room to each center. One of their favorite centers right now is playing bingo (letters, sounds, colors, sight words). Playing is also very important as the children are still learning social skills. Any free chance we have, even if it is only five minutes, I will let them play.

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