Second in a series.
The Troup County School System Teachers of the Year were asked to write about their favorite teaching moment from this year. The following are the last part of the elementary school teachers, listed in alphabetical order by teacher’s last name.
Veronica Longshore, Hollis Hand Elementary School:
” One of my most memorable teaching moments this year was seeing one of my struggling students succeed. Blending sounds together to form words was very difficult for him. Noticing that he received little help at home practicing his word lists I began to give extra assistance at school when possible. He practiced with me and then on his own relentlessly until it clicked for him. He continued to practice and gain confidence in himself and me as his teacher. The day he met his goal looked to be one of the greatest days in his life. The smile that was brought to his face when he completed his several week long accomplishment was greater than any gift or reward I could ever receive!”
Corlis Ransom, Franklin Forest Elementary School:
“Teaching children is a wonderful experience and includes many interesting and challenging moments. My favorite teaching moment this year was the day I introduced “Blabberize” in one of my lesson. “Blabberize” is a website that allows you to upload a photo and a thirty second sound clip of an object to make it talk. I discovered this website while taking the Web 2.0 course. Initially, I was reluctant to try this website during my whole group social studies class. After I got over the fear of using this technology and realized how the experience would benefit my students, I became motivated to give it a try. The media specialist gladly loaned me her external microphone and showed me how to use it.
As a motivating strategy, I displayed the website on the promethean board. While watching the introduction video, their eyes lit up as they anticipated their turn to use this tool. After the demo, I gave them the directions for the assignment. The students were to choose one historical figure of Georgia and list their contributions and character traits. They completed the reading and written work of assignment very quickly. I could barely keep up with giving them there turn to use “Blabberize”. After editing their work, they came to me to find a picture of their character on the internet. Next, they read their information into the microphone. Viewing and sharing their work with the class gave us much joy.”
Denise Shirley, Hillcrest Elementary School:
“My favorite teaching moments are when I plan a lesson, it goes well, and the students beg to do more. This actually happens when I read certain novels and especially with math. One example is an activity that involves the students listening to math problems. They solve the problems mentally just by listening. The students really enjoy checking their work at the end to see if they got the answer correct. Many times the students will ask if we can do more. This is just a very short time each day, and I always go on to my daily lesson, but the students love it and I enjoy observing how much they soak it all in. I know I am doing my job by providing a challenging yet enjoyable activity for the students.”
Ashley Strickland, Rosemont Elementary School:
“Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.” As I read that quote to my small group reading class this past November my eyes filled with tears. As the biography of Helen Keller unfolded, my students sympathized with her family. I asked the question, “How can a child who is both blind and deaf ever learn anything?” The students answered in multiple ways but most of them agreed. “She can’t.” “She won’t be able to play, or read or learn.” “Her life is pretty much over.” It was astonishing to view the world through their eyes. As we continued to read, it was difficult for me not to blurt out that they were wrong about Helen. I reminded myself that I needed to show them the world through Helen’s eyes. I engaged my students in activities using blindfolds and silent actions. They uncovered the power of their senses. I introduced them to braille and sign language. By the end of our unit my students were humbled and astounded by Helen’s accomplishments. They wanted to take back their early predictions of what Helen’s life would be. Our Helen Keller unit was quite rewarding. As Helen persevered she left us with the gift of diligence. It is not something that we can see or touch but rather something that we can feel with our hearts.”
Dina Thomas, Mountville Elementary School:
“Being a teacher is one of hardest, yet most rewarding jobs a person can have. The job description goes far beyond teaching the curriculum. Teachers wear many hats throughout the school day: parent, counselor, advocate, roll model, actor, playwright, musician, artist, book keeper, nurse, author, and community leader. No matter which hat I wear, there is no better feeling than seeing that spark in a student’s eyes when a concept or skill they have been struggling with finally clicks. Their face lights up with excitement and confidence, and it is truly an indescribable moment of accomplishment for both the student and the teacher.
Several weeks ago I had a student who was struggling to memorize the amendments listed in the Bill of Rights. No mater how hard he tried he could not keep them straight and always got them mixed up. I decided to create movements to go with each of the amendments. I showed the movements to my whole class, and that particular student practiced and practiced everyday. He came to me one morning a few days later and said “I got them down. I know my amendments!” He then went through all of the movements we created and said each of the amendments perfectly! He was so incredibly proud of himself and his eyes lit up with excitement. He realized his hard work and determination paid off. I live for those moments!”
Amy Thompson, Whitesville Road Elementary School:
“I would have to say that my favorite teaching moment this year came when I was trying to teach a little one how to, of all things, match colors. Sounds simple, right? Well, for some reason, he was not “getting” it. I tried every way I knew to make him understand what I wanted. “See this red block? Well, find another just like it!” He would find one, but not the same color. Finally, I just had to walk away-we were both just that frustrated. As I was helping another child, I suddenly heard a small voice behind me, “See? See?” I turned and saw that my little one had matched the colors perfectly, all the way across the table. When I walked back and saw what he had done I praised him for doing such a good job! However, when I asked him to do it again, he could, or would, not. Once again, when I walked away, he did what I wanted with no problem. I finally saw what I had been doing wrong. By standing over him and demanding his immediate performance, I had made him shut down. But by backing off and letting him figure it out for himself, he could do it. A very important lesson to learn, for me that is!”