What can I say,but that each and every day in kindergarten is filled with excitement? The kids are excited and I am excited. Their curiosity, enthusiasm, love of learning, and honesty make me smile and motivated every day. Not many people can really say that they love their job, but I LOVE my job! I dreamt of becoming a teacher ever since my fourth grade teacher—someone who valued student discovery with a flexible classroom approach—really challenged me. Until then, I was always overlooked and was thought of as the smart, quiet Chinese girl.
Please tell us about any special projects or initiatives you are most proud of this year or over the course of your career.
The children create a documentary based on our yearlong study on ecology. With Central Park so accessible, we are able to take frequent field trips where the children can film about nature. We work closely with the Urban Park Rangers through their programs in geology, ichthyology, entomology, raptors, and trees. I then work with the children to edit the footage into a documentary. It’s a great opportunity to expose children and extend learning outside of the classroom, and I believe that it is healthier for kids to spend some of their time in the outdoors.
I feel that nutrition is lacking in most school curriculums, and it is important to start educating children at an early age so that they are able to make smart and healthy food choices. We extend this learning and discovery by working with Health Barn at Abma’s Farm in New Jersey, where kindergartners are able to grow vegetables, prepare recipes, compost, and harvest. The children understand nutrition through hands-on learning about where food comes from, healthy habits, and the connection between nature and nutrition.
What drives you and keeps you motivated to continue your hard work as a teacher on a daily basis?
Teaching is my heart and soul. Children have diverse needs and I enjoy taking the time to understand each child individually—where their strengths and weaknesses are—to be able to provide them with creative approaches to learn. I provide a classroom community by keeping kindergartners challenged, interested, and engaged by creating meaningful hands-on learning experiences.
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