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Throughout May, we celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Month and all of the amazing educators who make a difference each day.
Samantha Kearns shares her experience with being an educator for the past nine years.
I teach first grade and all subject areas: reading and language arts, math, science, social studies, and religion since I currently teach at a private Catholic school.
I have been teaching for nine years. I started my teaching career in a combined 5th, and 6th-grade class then moved to just 5th grade, and then to first grade where I have been for seven years.
I think the desire has always been within me because I would play school constantly with my younger sister as my student while growing up. Then, in high school, I took a child development class. Preschool children would come to the high school for a few hours, and we would be their teachers and learn from them. It was then that I made my decision to major in education for my undergrad. I have never looked back since; teaching is truly my passion.
I don’t think there was any one teacher who inspired me to seek the field of education. I have been fortunate to have had numerous examples of excellent, passionate teachers from elementary school through my master's program. Now, I am a part of the extensive online teacher community, and there is a multitude of amazing teachers who have so much to offer and share. They inspire me every day.
I love creating engaging learning experiences for my kids whether it be a total room transformation like when I took my kids to the Moon or interactive games like human-hungry hippos to review double-digit numbers or something as simple as planting a garden outside of our classroom. When the activity gets them up and moving and involved, they retain the content I’m teaching and are better able to reference and utilize their knowledge in the future. I know that I am doing my job well when my students show growth and that makes my teacher heart so happy!
Never stop learning about your craft. Always look for ways to improve your teaching skills. When one way of teaching is not working for a particular student or even a whole class, because every class has its own unique personality and you have to adjust for that, seek another way to present information and help your students learn. My big piece of advice is to join the online teacher community by following teacher accounts on Instagram and Facebook. Networking and bouncing ideas off of other teachers around the country, and even world is going to be beyond helpful for you. However, remember that you are your own person, so do not get yourself down if your classroom or lessons do not look like what you see online. You will find your style and figure out what works for you and your students. Also, stay positive, because this profession can be tough, and see all of the positive impact you are making on your students. Your students are your primary concern, but also remember to incorporate self-care into your weekly routine. You cannot fill up another’s cup if yours is empty. I workout at least three times a week, do my best to make healthy meals, hand letter quotes that inspire me, and I love to dance! Do something non-school related to give yourself a break and rejuvenate. You’ve got this!
This is truly a tough one, because like I said previously, there are so many teachers who inspire me that I follow online. Some I have met in person and shown my gratitude, and others I hope to meet someday so that I can thank them to their face for how much they have helped me become the teacher I am today and continue to help me be the best teacher I can be for my students. I do not want to start naming names because I don’t want to leave out someone accidentally, but I will say that the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia and its teachers and students hold a special place in my heart. The school is a teaching school and all throughout the school year, teachers from across the globe attend educator days at the academy to observe the exceptional teachers as they educate their students in innovative, effective, and unique ways. Attending one of the two-day trainings at RCA is at the top of my bucket list. I will get there one day! I will get slide certified! ;) Look it up!
Thank you to Ms. Kearns and all of the other educators out there who make a positive impact each day!