Sand Springs Public Schools announced 12 Site Teachers of the Year on Nov. 5. One educator from each of the district’s school sites was chosen by a committee from the school district.
Five of the site teacher honorees will be named finalists for the Sand Springs Teacher of the Year title. The district will select the finalists in January and will announce the districtwide Teacher of the Year in February.
The Sand Springs Leader would like to introduce readers to each of the Site Teachers of the Year. Following is the eighth of the 12 profiles.Name: Jerie Carter
School: Angus Valley Elementary School
Subject matter: I teach math to 67 fifth-graders, and I teach writing and social studies to my homeroom class of 21.
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Years with SSPS: 16th year
What excites you about teaching?Making learning fun and building relationships are the things that most excite me about teaching. I think it’s important for all kids to enjoy their day at school and want to be there. They will surely learn more and pay attention to my teaching if they are enjoying what I am saying. I bring chants, songs, and silly sayings to the classroom. I want kids to remember the skill for a long time. It’s so easy to remember things in the short term, so I give them concepts that will stick in their head. When they are in secondary grades, they come back to me and tell me that they still remember the songs I taught them. I love searching for and creating new songs or rhymes to teach. When my kids all repeat my silly tricks back to me and they “get it,” it is the best feeling.
I also try very hard to build relationships with my students. I think that respect should be given to students as well as expected from them. Trust is important to me. I need my kids to know they are important to me and that I’m glad they are there every day.
What has been the hardest thing about teaching during a pandemic?I would have to say that the hardest thing about teaching during the pandemic is reaching all of the kids through virtual learning. Sometimes kids were quarantined as a class and sometimes individually. I like to be in front of my kids teaching. It was extremely challenging teaching through a computer. I need to see all of their faces. I like to watch that lightbulb turn on when something is understood, especially after a struggle of mastering the skill. A good lesson for me is not on a computer or through a Google Meet. This year has been better as far as the quarantines go, but the loss my kids have faced has been real. COVID has taken many family members of my students this year. I can’t be “just” their teacher; I have to know where they are at emotionally. My class in particular has been through a lot. I have to check in with them because they are trying to process what is happening to their family and trying to learn at the same time. If they don’t check in with me, they can worry throughout the day and not feel comfortable to talk to me about it. This is that trust again that is necessary.
What is something you have learned about yourself while teaching during a pandemic?I have learned that teaching is something that I am supposed to be doing. It has not been easy these past few years. I find myself sad about the things the kids have missed. There was a group of kids that didn’t get to go to the much anticipated fifth grade camp. They didn’t have a promotion, field day, and kids had to wear masks for a year. There were many times someone would mention to me that maybe I should find another job. There is literally nothing else I can see myself doing.
How is teaching (like/not like) you thought it would be?I will say that college doesn’t prepare you for what it will be like in a classroom. I was not prepared for the happiness, the joy, the love, and the pride you find in your students. With that, it also doesn’t prepare you for the sadness, the struggles, and the time required to stay on top of things.
What is something you have learned from a student or students?I think my students have taught me how to live in the moment sometimes. It’s OK to let go for a minute and have fun. I have also learned compassion and maybe to be a bit resilient. Things happen that don’t go as planned, but we have a new day tomorrow. They don’t tend to harp on the bad stuff. They can start with a clean slate. There are times I am frustrated, too, and I can start each day fresh as they do.
Sand Springs Public Schools announced 12 Site Teachers of the Year on Nov. 5. One educator from each of the district’s school sites was chosen…