1. What is your background and what do you teach?
I graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a bachelor’s degree in childhood and special education. I continued on to earn my master’s degree in literacy from Syracuse University. This is my ninth year teaching, and my sixth year teaching at Palmer Elementary School in Baldwinsville. Before teaching at Palmer, I taught first and second grade. At Palmer, I taught third grade for three years before moving to kindergarten. Ever since elementary school I knew that I wanted to be a teacher, specifically a kindergarten teacher. The summer before I started teaching kindergarten, I found an old sixth grade reflection page. One of the questions asked what I wanted to be when I got older and I said, “In six years when I graduate, I hope I go to college to become a kindergarten teacher.”
2. What has it been like starting this 2020/2021 school year off?
It is definitely an interesting time to be in education. I didn’t know what to expect, but it is nice to be back into a routine and in the classroom seeing my kids every day. Our kids have quickly adapted to wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and washing hands often. We are making the best of a very different school year. If my kids go home smiling each day and eager to come back the next day, that is a successful day!
3. What has been the most challenging thing about this uncertainty in education and what did you learn from it?
I think the most challenging thing has been all of the unknown and uncertainty. I am a planner, but this year I have learned to take a step back and go with the flow. I realize that my students’ health, happiness, and well-being come first, no matter whether we are in the classroom environment or learning virtually at home. Building relationships and connections with my kids is the most important thing in any year, but this year it is especially important. This is a year to really dig into our character strengths and persevere through the uncertainty together.
4. Although this is also new to you, what advice would you give a new teacher whose first year is THIS year?
Know that you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teammates and colleagues for support or advice. We are all feeling a little like first year teachers this year. This year, more than ever, we need the support of each other. Also, don’t burn yourself out! It is so important to take care of your own mental and physical health, so you can take care of your kids that walk into your classroom each day.
Know an educator who deserves a mention? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.