Why did you decide to become an elementary school teacher?
I did not initially
plan to become an elementary teacher. I went to college thinking that
I might major in economics and go on to law school. But in my freshman
year there was an orientation to different activities in the area, and
one was volunteering in a tutoring organization that worked with elementary
students. And I started doing that, and enjoyed it, and things just
developed. I didn't major in elementary education because it wasn't
available, but I started taking courses, majored in human development,
and then went on for more training and started teaching.
What have been your biggest surprises in teaching?
The social dynamics
of the class as a group was a surprise for me at the beginning of my
teaching career. I'm still learning how best to work with that, because
there are so many different variables that come up from the kids as
a group, and from individual kids. I also didn't consider how crucial
it is to work with parents and to make it a real partnership. It's something
I didn't consider much, if at all, in the beginning, but I have come
to value it, and I've thought of different ways to include parents and
collaborate with them in the best interests of the students.
How would you describe your approach to teaching math and science?
An important idea
that I try to keep in mind in all my teaching, including math and science,
is balance. I try to balance the structure of the room—from whole
class work to small group work to individual work. I also try to balance
the types of activities that we do—from hands-on, which science and
math definitely lend themselves to, to content in science and computation