HTEA 6th Grade Teacher
Mrs. Boates describes what teaching means to her. You may remember her from a previous post “Fresh Ideas in the Classroom.”
I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. As a child, I enjoyed going to school and my sister and I would often “play school” on the weekends. I know that I was also influenced by my parents to head in the direction of education. My dad was a middle school math teacher for 38 years and loved what he did. Many dinners were spent listening to tales of his day at school. I also took great pride when we would run into his students in public. My mom worked with ESOL students for fifteen years. Although she did not have a teaching degree, the connection and life lessons she taught these children were admirable. Fifteen years later these former students still write my mom. I always knew that I wanted to make a difference in other’s lives as I saw my parents do my whole life.
My first paying job was babysitting. I started babysitting when I was in the fifth grade and continued to do so throughout high school. My first job outside of babysitting was working at an after school program. My job was to interact and play with the children. As you can see, being a teacher and working with kids has been a part of life for a long time.
I try to inspire all of my students in the field of science. I was never interested in science when I was growing up and when I reflect on this and ask myself, “Why?”. I know the answer is because my teachers were not passionate. I work hard at making sure my students see my excitement for teaching science and learning about science. As an adult, I find it easy to share a love for science with my students. Science is around us every day and there are so many fields of science to learn about. I remind my students weekly that there are discoveries still to be made, problems to solve, and inventions to create. The possibilities in the world of science are vast.
With a new focus on STEM, I have embraced the idea of incorporating technology in my classroom. The students love using technology and I find that it is easy to engage them in any topic when we use computers. The 6th grade students use their Google Drive accounts daily; we can’t imagine not having Chromebooks in our classroom. They are comfortable with creating documents and presentations, and I am impressed with the ease at which they have learned to collaborate with one another. We also use Edmodo. In Edmodo, my students write responses and comment on responses of their peers and I can connect with other teachers and share ideas. It doesn’t stop there! My students use Prezi, Video Notes, BrainPop, Discovery Education, FOSS multimedia, and great websites like Science News for Students. I hope to introduce Evernote next month and am always open to new suggestions.
In the end, the most important life lesson I want students to have when they leave my classroom is that it is all right to question why something is the way it is. I also want them to know that they should never follow anyone blindly. In teaching science and world history, I often express to my students the importance of not believing everything they hear or read. It is important in many aspects of life to have facts to substantiate what you hear. We start and end many classes with “I wonder…” statements.