Ms. Gina Taylor

teacher spotlightWhittier Elementary

Pasco District


Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

Mrs.O, 5th grade. Not only did she scare the crap out of me, she made me push myself. I had always breezed through school, earning straight As without ever really having to try. She changed that for me. I still made straight As  in her class, but I had to work hard to EARN them. I admired her so much, and I wanted her admiration in return.  Now that I am a teacher, my teaching style is the polar opposite of Mrs. O's. I'm nurturing, soft spoken, and enjoy laughing and joking with my 3rd graders. However, I will not let a single student work beneath their potential and I push them farther than they ever thought possible. I owe that teaching skill to my beloved Mrs. O.

What are three things every teacher should own?

1.) Patience

2.) A sense of humor

3.) A camera (because some things just can't be described in words).

If you could have any person (living, dead or fictional) as a principal, who would it be?

My dream principal would have the wisdom of Anne Shirley, the humor of Ellen, the leadership and charisma of Bill Clinton (sans the cigars and naughty interns), and the mad vocal stylings of Aretha (just for fun).

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?

Writer and photographer.

Describe your all-time favorite lesson/unit activity.

Last year I read aloud The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate diCamillo). For the first time ever, I broke my own rule of reading a book myself prior to reading it to my students. I am so thankful I got to enjoy this book for the first time with my wonderful class! This book had incredibly rich vocabulary, was full of suspense and wonderment, and drew all of us into this rabbit's emotional journey. My students and I laughed and cried together; we asked questions and made predictions together; we guiltily skipped math one day to finish the book because we just had to find out how it ended! I will never forget the looks of 29 faces leaning in to capture every word I read. They talked about that book for the rest of the year, and even created a sign-up sheet for borrowing the book to read during independent reading! Even my so-called "non-readers" were engaged and desperately wanted to try their hand at reading it.

What is the greatest misconception about teachers?

That we are perfect. The truth is, we do drop the f-bomb, we fart, we cry, we read trashy magazines and watch trashy TV. We even listen to 50 Cent, get our drink on, and bust a move at da club every now and then.

What stereotype about teachers is true?

We love school supplies.

How did you know you wanted to be a teacher?


To be honest, my first inclination toward teaching was my love affair with the chalkboard in grade school. I used to stare wistfully at its smooth, dark green skin which begged to be written upon with that fantastically crisp, white chalk. I loved the "click-click" sound and the smooth white lines their contact produced. I thought to myself, "If I were a teacher, I could write on the chalkboard whenever the urge arose!" (I was very passionate about the chalkboard).

Fast forward to high school, where I had dull teachers who rarely knew my name and taught straight from the text book....and this is when my thoughts changed. Now I was saying to myself, "If I were a teacher, I would create a personal connection with each and every one of my students. I would make each of them feel welcomed and special in my class. I would teach creatively so that my students were excited about learning. I would have fun with my students so that they wanted to be at school every single day."
This was my vow and I have remained true to it. I love being a teacher, and I make sure my students love being students in my class.

The only problem is, we now have those damn whiteboards! Sigh...


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