Washington Family Magazine : August 2017
24 August 2017 washingtonFAMILY.com TEACHERS OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY: What originally got you interested in teaching? In high school, I used to volunteer for an organization called ACTS Turning Points, which focused on helping families that experienced domestic violence. I led and taught groups of younger kids about anger management and how to talk about their feelings. I really enjoyed it and was amazed at how much of a difference I could make in the lives of others. In college, I was a philosophy major and I loved the idea of thinking about the reasons behind our actions. I wanted to combine these two passions, helping others and thinking about how different minds think about human nature, and found teaching was a great way to blend those passions. Why do you think teachers are important? Teachers help raise future generations and we have the opportunity to teach students how to reflect, how to be considerate of others and how to teach themselves to question everything. These are powerful skills and through teaching, we can shape the future in a positive way. What’s your funniest teaching moment? On Halloween, I was struggling to find a costume that my students would be proud of, so I decided to come to school as a mime. Now, people might think that I just dressed in black with makeup and gloves, but I took my role seriously. It was the only time in my career, that I did not speak a word to my students all day. I taught every lesson through writing, gesture or signs. I laughed with them, without sound. I taught them, without a voice. At first, my students thought it was hilarious, then they were intrigued, and by the end of the day, they were outraged! To this day, that group of students remembers that day; it brings a smile and a laugh to their faces. What advice would you give to aspiring teachers? To understand that everyday with children is a new adventure so expect the unexpected. In addition, collaboration is a key to successful teaching—we all need to share ideas with each other and take the best ideas to implement in the curriculum. What makes you excited to go into your school each day? I love that everyday there is something new and unpredictable. Kids are so honest, and I feel that this nature allows me to have amazing conversations where I learn as much from them as they learn from me. Teaching kids to access knowledge, to evaluate, analyze, apply, compare and contrast is teaching kids to think critically. And it’s teaching kids to think for themselves. It’s amazing to see kids find themselves, to discover who they are and develop an awareness of what they think. JESSICA ROBINSON “Jessica was my son’s teacher and I can honestly say we have never experienced a more amazing, caring, warm and generous teacher. Her command of a rambunctious third grade class and the respect that the kids give her is inspiring. She is the type of teacher who can talk your ear off about your child and knows every detail about them as a person. She’s also the kind of teacher who will call you on a school night at 9 p.m. after putting three kids to bed (under the age of five) because she received an email from you an hour ago and wanted to address your question. Not only does she demand and focus on academic excellence, she spends time to teach kids in her class how to be respectful of others, to be kind and learn to work together.” THIRD GRADE TEACHER AT THE LANGLEY SCHOOL IN MCLEAN, VA NOMINATED BY: ALIFIA D. Collaboration isakeyto successful teaching.