What are your biggest challenges as a teacher?
One challenge in
working in an inner city school is that a lot of the children have emotional
problems. They come from dysfunctional families and it's not easy for
them to come to school -- their focus is someplace else. Sometimes they
have behavioral issues as a result of their emotional problems, and
my biggest challenge is to find the key to reach that child who is very
disruptive or very angry. Another challenge I face is that a lot of
the children are not as prepared for school as they need to be. They
come without a lot of literacy experience. They come into the classroom
holding books upside down, or not knowing where the books start. They
haven't had a lot of language; they haven't had the experience of being
read to. So my job of getting them to read is a little bit harder. And
as a first grade teacher that's my primary goal.
What has been your biggest surprise in teaching?
are really late bloomers. I may think a child is just not making it,
and then all of a sudden a light clicks on around April or May. It's
a little late, but this child who has been struggling, who didn't know
the alphabet or couldn't remember the word "the" or "and" suddenly begins
reading. I see him having some kind of success, and feeling high self-esteem,
and just blossoming. And that makes me feel very successful.