Q. How many years have you been teaching, and what subjects and grades are you currently teaching?
A. The 2009-2010 school year marks my 16th year as a teacher. I taught fourth-grade reading and language arts for the majority of that time in a variety of settings -- self-contained, partner-teaching, co-teaching, and in a modified block schedule. I currently teach fifth-grade reading and language arts.
Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My husband, Britt, and I have three children: Sarah Gayle, 11, Elizabeth, 9, and John Thomas, 8. Our "extended" families are also in Thomson.
Q. What do you do when you're not teaching?
A. We are members at First Baptist Church, Thomson, where I am the church pianist. I also work with children's choir on Wednesday afternoons.
I enjoy baking with my children, reading, and traveling. We try to go on a big family trip each year that is both fun and educational. We did a "tour of Arizona" this past summer that included everything from the Grand Canyon to Saguaro National Park. I learn as much doing the Junior Ranger Programs with the children as they do, maybe more! Those trips inform and expand my teaching on so many levels.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
A. My favorite moments have to do with that "light-bulb look." Seeing the "Ohhhhhh!" in my students' faces when they make the connection between something I'm teaching and something they have experienced. I also love hearing them explain a concept or defend an opinion in a conversation with another student. It's great when a student takes charge of his/her own learning and has enough confidence to teach someone else! My goal is to produce students who know how to learn on their own and, more importantly, WANT to learn on their own. It is a privilege to see that mindset start to form as the year progresses.