2nd Grade Teacher, Preston Elementary School, Caroline County
2018-19 Caroline County Teacher of the Year
What do you love about teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is watching my students work through a productive struggle. I love to give them rigorous activities that people typically think are too hard for a seven or eight-year-old to complete, and see their success. I love watching them struggle to overcome challenges - and I even love watching them fail sometimes, none of us learn without having some setbacks.
When that ‘lightbulb’ in their head goes off, that is the reward for me. I love seeing that 'aha' moment, when they finally get it! They always meet my expectations. - but they always EXCEED everybody else's expectations, and that is my reward.
Why did you become a teacher?
I think I always knew that I wanted to teach. My mother is a teacher, and she was my role model growing up. I sometimes went to school with her, and watched her work in her classroom. When she worked at home, I was able to help her with projects and crafts for her class. As I got older, I would help her with her class bulletin boards and doorway decorations. Sometimes I would assist her with small classroom jobs. I got to see, firsthand, what the work would be like both outside and inside the classroom. It inspired me, just as my mom always inspired me.
Can you describe your pathway to this profession?
I am a Queen Anne's county high school graduate, and when I was in school I was that person who could not get away from Maryland quickly enough! So I moved 600 miles away after I graduated, and I got my bachelor's degree in Georgia. I married my college sweetheart, and we actually lived in North Pennsylvania Amish country for four years, before we decided it was time to come back home. We both realized that Maryland really is just the best place in the United States. It just has everything that you could desire: city, county, all four seasons, and so many different landscapes. We love it here.
Do you have any advice for young teachers, or those who are considering this profession?
My advice to future teachers is: 'Face it, until you make it.' Everybody says 'Fake it until you make it' - but you have to be real, never fake, or your students will know. Your first couple of years of teaching are definitely challenging, and you will face struggles and some setbacks, but you get right back up again and face the next day with determination and pride. Keep going, keep teaching, keep helping kids and you will be fine. Face it, until you make it!