School district: Seaman USD 345
Class/content area taught: English/Language Arts
What are you most excited about with your new career? I’m excited to grow and learn about myself as an individual, and a teacher along with my students. I love how teaching is never boring, and no day is ever exactly the same as the last. You never know what you’re going to hear walking into a room, or what impact you’re going to have on a student until you get in the room and talk with them. I’m excited to start delivering content in a way that most students aren’t accustomed to, as they usually expect Language Arts to be solely dedicated to reading old literature and writing papers on it. We’re getting ready to teach our Sophomores Romeo and Juliet, and I’m already excited to teach them about his language using the book Pop Sonnets, and having them apply and understand the knowledge that we can still learn from Romeo and Juliet many years after it’s been written.
In what ways has your school/district supported you? I was very fortunate to have Seaman supporting me from the beginning when I student taught, and even more fortunate to return to the kids and community I love. I can talk with any teacher of any content and get tips or tricks on how to deal with difficult students or parents; even just to have a conversation with about a favorite TV show or something. My PLC group of teachers are also a great support system. I know I can talk with them about any struggles I’m having and will get solid advice. My administrators are very supportive as well, offering me new teaching strategies, or even conversing with me about my ideas for classroom management. The district itself is currently accepting applications for its teachers to consider making their classrooms a blended learning space; offering training, new furniture, and support from teachers who already are using blended learning.
What are some specific things you believe KSU especially helped prepare you for your new career? KSU has prepared me to be open to new ideas even if it’s outside of my comfort zone. Within my teaching classes, I interacted and discussed with other future teachers ideas and systems we thought might work for our future classrooms. I learned a lot from working both with individuals of similar content, or personality interests, and from those who had different ideas or approaches from me. My English teachers specifically helped me analyze and compile a list of non-classic literature I could use to engage my students interests better than what most schools teach. My time spent in the KSU writing center changed my idea of what feedback on writing projects should look like. Before I might have written all over a student’s essay the errors, mistakes, and what they needed to revise rather than giving them helpful feedback that will help them in the future. Now, I still focus on the lower order concerns more towards the last draft, but make sure to ask them questions about their writing that would qualify for the higher order concerns of writing.
Are there specifics about your background that make teaching the perfect fit for you? I’ve always wanted to be a teacher ever since sixth grade. I knew I wanted to inspire and help people learn like my favorite teachers had always done. Although my mom always wanted to, I’m the only one in my family who’s followed that dream.
Suggestions/encouragement for new teachers: My suggestion for new teachers is to find the proper balance between building a personal relationship with your students and being the ‘cool teacher’ that they like because you let them get away with everything. You don’t necessarily have to wait to smile until September, but make sure that you don’t loosen up too much too early on in the year.