By Teachers, For Teachers
Bradley West School
I have been teaching fifth grade in the Bradley School District for 21 years about 60 miles south of Chicago.
It is hard for me to believe that I have been teaching that long! I grew up in Momence, Illinois. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1987. I am a middle child. I have an older sister and a younger brother. My mother passed away almost 16 years ago. My father still lives in my childhood home. We are an extremely close family. My siblings are both married and have blessed our family with a niece and nephew. I am very close to these two children. Having never married myself, I am very fortunate to have such a great a close relationship with these fine young people. I do have five godchildren.
I love to shop and all of my godchildren benefit from this as well. Reading, swimming, shopping, cleaning, and a wonderful Bible group are how I like to fill up free tree time. I look forward to teaching for many years to come. There are a lot of great minds out there that I need to reach. It is such a pleasure to see a child’s face when they truly get a new concept or idea. Children are truly our future and real blessing to have around.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My favorite teacher was my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Lusk. She was kind, nice, and had a great sense of humor. I just ran into her this fall at my church. She is over 80 years old. She remembered me and I told her she was my favorite teacher. She could not believe that I had been a teacher for 21 years. After a few laughs and a few tears, we parted ways. It was so great to see her and tell her how awesome a teacher she really was to me.
What are three things every teacher should own?
Every teacher should own a computer, an ink pen, and a great pair of comfortable shoes!!!
If you could have any person (living, dead, or fictional) as a principal, who would it be?
I would love to have Abraham Lincoln as my principal. He was such a fair and honest man. I think that he would have made a fantastic principal.
What profession other than your own would you most likely attempt?
I would like to be a personal shopper. I love to shop and buy gifts for other people. I have a lot of patience and will tell a friend if what they are buying is not right for them in an honest and sweet way. I also like to keep up on the latest fashion trends. Although, I do not wear all of the latest trends, it is always fun to see what is new out there.
Describe you all-time favorite lesson/unit activity.
A colleague and I made up a unit on pizza. The students loved it!! We visited a pizza parlor and the students not only had an awesome tour of the pizza parlor, but they also got to make their own pizzas. We also made pizzas at school on a Pizza Pizazz!! Food is an awesome way to get students excited!! The unit was cross-curricular and the students talked about the “pizza unit” for the rest of the school year.
What is the greatest misconception about teachers?
The greatest misconception is that teachers have too many days off. It’s not really a full time job because they have the summer months and all of the holidays off. I am here to tell you that we need time off to reenergize. Why do you think parents are so eager to send their kids back after even one extra day off?
Teaching is a demanding, yet very rewarding job. I am still thinking about school when I am not at my school. I work on new techniques and units all summer long. I take classes and read to help with my teaching. This is not a nine to five job. A good teacher is thinking about teaching all of the time. We get a really bad rap for our “extra” days off. Teaching kids all day with a lot of enthusiasm and spirit is a lot of work. I love it, but it can be exhausting.
What stereotype about teachers is true?
They are kind and caring individuals with a lot of patience. Also, teachers have to have a good sense of humor. It’s a must!!
How did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
Well, to be honest, I really did not know what I wanted to do career wise.
It was Thanksgiving Break my sophomore year of college and my father said he was writing one more tuition check to Eastern Illinois University and that I had better have a game plan. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.
My sister, who was a senior at EIU at the time, said, “Well, you love kids! Why don’t you go into elementary education”? So, that is what I did. I declared my major as elementary education.
It was the very best decision that I ever made in my life. I was meant to be a teacher!
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