Kansas State University


College of Education

Your favorite faculty share their first-year memories

memoriesWe found some of your former Curriculum and Instruction professors and asked them, “As a classroom teacher, what’s your favorite memory from your first year of teaching?” And here are some of their responses.

Dr. Todd Goodson (Secondary English, Speech/Theatre, Journalism) — “My first year was at a very small country school with grades 7-12. The first week I was there, the superintendent came in carrying a Missouri driver’s manual. He explained that I would need to drive the district’s small bus to take students to speech contests, and to do that, I would need a special license. He told me to read through the manual a little bit, and he would come back and watch my classes for me that afternoon while I went to the county seat to take the exam. I’m not sure what would be more intimidating for a new teacher—having the superintendent as a substitute during the first month of teaching, trying to quickly read a book and take a test over it and thinking about how embarrassing it would be to fail, or the sudden discovery the job also included driving buses loaded with students. As it turned out, the test part was a non-issue. I already had a Missouri Chauffeur’s License! Driving high school students to contests never stopped being terrifying.”

Dr. Lori Levin (Literacy) — “I did a Flat Stanley project based on the Flat Stanley books, and my kids sent little flat paper versions of themselves to friends and family around the country and asked for photos or artifacts of the flat child out and about in the community so we could learn about new places. When an envelope would come back to school in the mail, it was the most exciting thing to see what was inside. Teachers still do Flat Stanley units today – it never gets old!”

Dr. Brad Burenheide (Secondary Social Studies) — “Being told I was being brought back for year 2!”

Cyndi Kuhn (Technology) — “OH my, when I think about my first year of teaching, I kinda hope no one remembers my name, I think I might have been the only one learning that year. But boy did I learn a ton.”  

Dr. Sherri Martinie (Secondary Math) — “I remember doing a lot of great projects, including skits and songs. It was a ton of work, but so much fun!”

Kaylee Myers (Elementary Education) — “How much I learned and grew from my kindergartners. Everyday they had something clever or cute that one of them told me. I should’ve written all of those down then!”

Dr. Tom Vontz (Secondary Social Studies) — “Watching students turn in their final exam on the last day of the semester. The final exam was one essay question, yet most of the students used the entire 90 minutes to write out their answer. I was proud of what we accomplished and how much they had learned – not just about history, but about hard work, study skills, organization of ideas, historical thinking, and a host of other things.”

Dr. Vicki Sherbert (Secondary English/Language Arts, Speech/Theatre, Journalism) — “During Parent/Teacher Conferences in October, a parent told me that her daughter loved my class. She said that she and her husband were always excited when their children were placed in a first-year teacher’s classroom because what new teachers may lack in experience, they make up for with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. Her words encouraged and gave me confidence.”

Dr. Tonnie Martinez (Secondary English/Language Arts) — “I was 21 and they were 18—I dressed like an old woman and stayed behind my podium.”

Dr. Phillip Payne (Music Education) — “I would say the resilience of my band as we returned home from Indianapolis after 1/3 of the band got food poisoning. This tested a lot of what I had learned in school. Seeing the connection between parents, community, and administration was invaluable and really allowed me to see the profession from beyond the walls of my classroom.”