Name: Karissa Hammock
Name: Karissa Hammock
School district: Geary County USD 475 – Junction City Middle School
City/State: Junction City, KS
Class/content area taught: 8th Grade Mathematics
What are you most excited about with your new career? I am most excited about teaching middle school and all the students that will come through my doors. So many lives are shaped in these 2-3 years and I think that as teachers of middle levels, we have the unique opportunity to not only be part of these crucial developmental years, but to guide and support these students in the right direction.
What you enjoy most about teaching: I enjoy teaching, especially middle level, because every day is a new adventure. I am excited to come to school and see just where my classrooms will go that day. I also have to mention that I enjoy teaching math. So many students struggle with their confidence to do that math and they don’t believe they have the ability. I love seeing kids become excited about math in my class and seeing that math is everywhere and there are so many ways that they can all be good at math.
In what ways has your school/district supported you? This district has been wonderful at welcoming new teachers into the schools and community. New teachers came back a week before everyone else for induction, integration and professional development with our schools, mentors, district administrators and community leaders. They were terrific at making new teachers feel like they were a part of the district and supported through mentoring programs and ongoing training.
What are some specific things you believe KSU especially helped prepare you for your new career? Kansas State and the College of Education helped prepare me in a huge way. Schools are implementing new programs that we as new graduates learned about in our classes so we already have a head start! Math content classes were great with helping to understand the math standards and unit planning and I feel incredibly prepared to step out on my own!
Suggestions/encouragement for new teachers: Your first few weeks are going to be a whirlwind, even before school starts. You will hear so much information and you will feel overwhelmed! Stay organized from the start. Write down questions as you go! Find a mentor that can answer any questions you might have and don’t be afraid to ask the smallest questions like “Where in this schedule am I going to be able to go the bathroom?” when you only have 2 minutes for passing between classes. It will sometimes seem impossible but just remember why you became a teacher. To teach the kids. So just breathe and everything else will fall into place.