I believe each child learns in a unique way and has a strength in something. It is our job as educators to help find this strength and facilitate the growth of their passion. I believe teaching needs to be differentiated and expectations need to be set strong from the start. All students should be held to high expectations regardless of their backgrounds. I believe in forming meaningful relationships with students and understanding their previous life experiences as well as the backgrounds they come from. By forming relationships with students it creates an environment of love, respect, and rapport.
Life is not always fair or easy but the genuine compassion of one person can make a huge difference in someones life. I refuse to be average. I strive to be the teacher who students remember years later. I don’t see 25 children in a classroom who need to be taught a curriculum. I see 25 individuals who all learn in different ways and come from different stories. The most rewarding challenge I will have will be finding a way to reach and inspire each of them differently, and to help them reach their highest potential.
The Big 5 in Reading
I believe these five skills must be implemented throughout all of the grade levels to create proficient and distinguished students. K-2 should focus on phonemic awareness and alphabetic principle then hopefully by 3rd grade students have mastery so they can excel onto vocabulary, comprehension and fluency having that strong foundation already set.
Math Number Sense
To understand math on a deeper level students need to know why they do the things they do. I strive to teach students number basics/sequencing, structuring, fluency, vocabulary and overall comprehension in math. I also enjoy having my students learn to be okay with a "healthy struggle". Students learn best from making their own mistakes and finding out where they went wrong. As teachers I believe we need to guide that struggle and facilitate learning instead of teaching math rote.
Vice President Panhellenic, Delta Gamma Fraternity
I am a member of Delta Gamma at the University of Kentucky. I held the position of VP Panhellenic for a year and represented my sorority of 275 women on a panel of Greek Women from each of the 13 chapters. Being on Panhellenic Council has taught me to work with a multitude of people and learn that even though you may not love everybody, there is something you can learn from each person you meet.
Girl Scout Camp Counselor
For the past 6 years I have worked at a Girl Scout day camp. During this time I was responsible for a group of about 20 girls to lead through a day of camp activities. I believe this has prepared me for teaching because I have been the moderator of many arguments between friends, I am able to be flexible and make spur of the moment lessons when I see girls losing interest, and I have taken great honor in being a role model.
Working With Diverse Groups
I student taught for 16 weeks at Arlington Elementary School in Lexington, Kentucky. I was placed in Kindergarten and 5th grade. Arlington is a title 1 school with the demographics 40% Hispanic, 28% African American, 27% White, and 5% other. 90% of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. 27% are ELL learners and 20% are in Special Education.
Kindergarten Project Based Learning
While at Arlington I was introduced to teaching methods like "Project Based Learning". With this method students gain knowledge and skills by working on projects through investigation, responding, complex questioning, and finding solutions to problems. In kindergarten I was able to create a PBL unit about the desert. We learned about the climate, where deserts were located, and about plants and animals who call the desert home!
Fifth Grade Government
In fifth grade I awakened a passion for Social Studies and created a lesson plan for students to mock how a bill becomes a law. The students acted as the House of Representatives, they wrote a bill of their choice then presented it to the class. If a majority of the House approved it, it moved up to the Senate (The 5th Grade Team). If they had majority vote in the Senate then it moved to myself, the President. From there I could either approve or veto it and send it back to Congress where a 2/3 vote could overrule my veto. By having students experience situations like this instead of reading about it in a book I believe it gives a new level of meaning to their understanding.
I was placed at Glendover Elementary School, also in Lexington, in a 4th grade classroom for my practicum placement. This school was a 2013 Blue Ribbon School. The demographics were 59% White, 8% African American, 19% Hispanic, 9% Asian, and 5% Other. 49% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, 23% are ELL and 11% are in Special Education.
Fourth Grade Science
While in 4th grade I was able to teach science and show through demonstrations and student experimentation what happens when light hits something. The students were amazed when we shined a laser pointer through air freshener, put a pencil into water and saw refraction, and bounced light off mirrors to show reflection.
Now it's my turn!
Teaching runs in the family! I have been around teaching my whole life because my mom is a third grade teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. Growing up with a teacher as a mother has taught me about the side of teaching most don't see. I know that relationships with parents are extremely important, and I am aware that sometimes these interactions may be like walking on a tight-rope. I know that being flexible is a must, I know that being on-time is late, and I am proud to say I can un-jam a copier machine in record time. Teaching is a career but it also becomes an integral part of your life.
Teaching in the Dominican Republic
Through the University of Kentucky's Alternative Spring Break program I embarked on a week long service trip. We went into schools around the Monte Crisit area to teach English. While teaching English we overcame the language barrier by incorporating in hand signals, pictures and games into lesson plans. I have used some ELL tactics in my classroom!