Lucky to be teachers
Korah Winn, Darren Faust and Jessica Meacham
March 17, 2017

It’s that time of year again: On classroom walls all over the country, Valentine’s Day hearts are replaced by St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks, and everyone wishes for the luck of the Irish. Today, we share why we feel lucky to spend our days in the classroom.

Korah Winn, English-Language-Learner Teacher

Every day when I walk into my classroom, I get to be on the front lines of helping refugee children feel safe and respected. I consider myself fortunate to have a position where I am able to build relationships with unique students and speak words of life to them as they learn and grow.  As an ELL educator, I am able to share the gift of reading and writing and provide access to the English language for students on a daily basis. I feel very lucky to provide the opportunity for my students to help others and make the world a better place because they can communicate in two (or more) languages.

Darren Faust, Mentor Teacher

I feel incredibly lucky to teach both social studies and STEM. My favorite moments are when students make connections between social studies and science on their own. Recently I had my students reading about Ancient Rome. I used online curriculum, so that when students selected a social studies topic, they immediately saw many articles about that topic and related science content. As they were reading, they found information connected to the Romans’ building techniques. We then had an engaging discussion on their aqueducts and how and why they worked.

Another time where my students learned both STEM and social studies was when we learned about ancient Egypt. One of my students noticed that the early Egyptian society started around the Nile River and made the connection to Mesopotamian society starting around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. We were then able to make connections between the importance of rivers to the development of early civilizations. We were able to research and discuss the science behind what rivers do that would be beneficial to a new civilization.

It is so incredible to see students take ownership of their learning and become more inquisitive of the world around them. I get to show my students why social studies is important. I can show them that learning about Rome, for example, can help us learn about building and engineering today. I get to show them that learning about Mesopotamia gives us great insights into how societies formed and what lives were like.

Jessica Meacham, First-Grade Teacher

A culmination of many small events led to my decision to become a teacher, from playing school with my siblings growing up, to having influential teachers as a student, to volunteering in elementary classrooms as a high school student. Becoming a teacher always seemed like a natural fit for me.

I feel so lucky to be a teacher because I’m able to mentor my students as readers, writers, and mathematicians. I love being able to feed each child’s curiosity through research or investigations. Sometimes it’s the simplicity of paper, boxes, tape, and markers that lead to the most innovative discoveries. I feel privileged to be able to witness these moments of discovery and accomplishment. It’s a very special thing to be able to help a student (or another teacher) realize that they have the power to accomplish their goals.

I treasure the relationships that I build with students and parents. I love being able to work in a partnership with parents to help their children become the best they can be. I feel like an extension of their family, and it is a blessing to be a part of the team. Other rewarding moments are when connections with students lead to academic or behavioral growth. 

The most challenging part of teaching is not having enough of me! I always tell my students that if I could clone myself, I would. That way I could offer more personalized and individual attention. They deserve it!

Korah Winn is an ELL teacher at Rock Island Academy in Rock Island, Illinois, where she uses Reading Horizons to give her students the foundations of literacy. She can be reached at korah.winn@rimsd41.org.

Darren Faust is a mentor teacher at Summit Charter Collegiate Academy in Porterville, CA. He uses Kids Discover Online to show his students the connections between science and social studies.

Jessica Meacham is a first-grade teacher in the Southern Door County School District in Wisconsin. She uses the Bloomz app to connect with families in her class. You can subscribe to her blog here.