Ms. Rachel Colsman

Ms. Rachel ColsmanKirtland Central High School

Kirtland, New Mexico

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

My favorite teacher was Mr. Joe Pyle. He was my high school band teacher. He always tried to push everyone to be their best. He taught me to not be afraid to try new things and to laugh at my failures and turn them into learning moments.

What are three things every teacher should own?

- A really big eraser to help students learn to fix their mistakes. (I keep one on my desk).

- A box of kleenex on their desk not only for those runny noses but to help dry the tears of students in need.

- A picture collage of past students to remind them that regardless of how bad things ultimately is about the kids/students (I hang this over my desk)

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

I would have Gandhi as my principal. He was the greatest example of putting others before yourself and working together for a greater cause. He taught that in order to institute true change, one must lead by example and not just by word.

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

I would attempt to be a museum curator. I love history and being around ancient artifacts and it would still allow me to utilize my both my love of history and my love of teaching by developing great displays and tours through the museum.

Describe your all-time favorite lesson/unit activity.

My favorite lesson was developed for world history and the Age of Exploration unit. I hide clues all over the school and break up students into "countries". They must work together to solve the clues, find the information needed, and become the first world power. The students love it, they learn a lot, it leads to great discussions, and it teaches a lot of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

What is the greatest misconception about teachers?

We have an easy job. Most people look at teachers and think we have it easy because we only "work" from 7:30 to 3:30 Monday through Friday with all major holidays off and 2 -3 months off in the summer.
What they don't realize is that there is so must more to our jobs. We spend hours of our own time, off the clock, developing lessons, attending meetings, furthering our education, and trying to do what is best for all the students entrusted to our care. We are responsible for the future of our students and it can be a heavy burden to ensure that every student is equipped with the skills they need to lead a successful and happy life.

What stereotype about teachers is true?

I have heard many times that teachers must love to learn. This is true. In this profession, one can never know too much. There are always new strategies and techniques being utilized in the classroom and as our world changes, we have to change our instruction to meet the needs of society. This means constant learning.
Besides, the best way to teach students to love learning is to model it ourselves.

How did you know you wanted to be a teacher?

I wanted to grow up and be just like my dad. I knew from the time I was in 3rd grade that I wanted to teach. My father has always been my foundation and my rock. I saw what he did in the classroom and it inspired me to be a better person. I have always viewed teaching as one of the most honorable professions and he was a key reason for this belief.
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