Say hello to Caitlin, a high school English and History teacher from Scottsdale, Arizona. Caitlin decided she wanted to become a teacher during her sophomore year of college and says the best part of teaching is seeing the students' reactions when they are successful. Please welcome Caitlin as our second "Teacher Feature"!
Caitlin's classroom has incredibly warm purple walls and bright, cheery sunflowers to accent the space. I love all of her personal touches including the name banner, photos, and framed wall art. I especially love that Caitlin brings in her own interests with an artsy sign highlighting different fictional worlds. I bet that's a great conversation starter! The classroom looks so cozy and inviting. I'm sure students absolutely love learning in this room.
Caitlin was kind enough to share photos of some classroom projects her students completed. She explains, "The first picture is of postcards from the Oregon Trail that my American history summer school students created. The second is of bumper stickers for the American Revolution (students had to create two - one pro-colonists and one pro-British rule). The third picture is of outside reading projects that my freshmen did- the top row has movie posters for fiction books and the bottom row has cafe menus based on non-fiction books. The last picture is of activities that my world history class did- the top row has family crests that the kids created during the medieval unit and the bottom row has travel brochures for ancient civilizations that we studied in the first semester." These look great, Caitlin! Looks like your students were working very hard.
Give us a feel-good student story.
I had a junior in one of my English classes last year that went through some severe health issues, including being gone for about a month (maybe a little more). She was a battler but always needed to come in before or after school, during break, lunch, or study hall to make everything up, and this didn't sit well with many of her other teachers. As she finished her final exam, she gave me a letter stating how thankful she was that I treated her like "Katie" and not like one of the students that's always gone just because he/she feels like it. It was a very emotional letter, but it felt great to know that I made an impact on her school year and hopefully her future.
What advice would you give to pre-service and first year teachers?
Go way out of your comfort zone and be creative with your lessons- the more you have fun with it, the more fun your students will have!
How would your students describe you?
Serious but approachable, loves to joke and chat with students, always willing to talk and work with them outside of class, knowledgeable..
Have any good teacher tips for working smarter, not harder?
Organization and planning ahead is key!