Name: Jessica Bowser
School: St. Augustine's School
Subject: Universal Pre-Kindergarten
State: New York
What or who inspired you to become a teacher?
When I walked into my kindergarten class and met my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Munhall, I knew that I wanted to be just like her. She was strict yet fun and interesting and made learning fun.
How are things different for you now, compared to when you first started teaching?
I started teaching six years ago and I have found that even in that short amount of time, the curriculum is more rigorous. The content that the children are learning is happening at an earlier age and expectations for mastery of this content are much higher.
What advice would you give to a new or struggling teacher?
My advice would be to use your resources. To me, my resources include my principal, other teachers within my building. They do not necessarily have to teach the same grade. I have found that sometimes just taking a step back and having another teacher come in to observe you and your class is beneficial. They are an outside set of eyes that can give you a new perspective on a situation that you may be struggling with. Trying to handle a situation by yourself that may be frustrating you, can often lead to questionable decisions being made. By accepting help, you are saying - yes I know that there is something going on but I need help seeing how to fix it- and having another teacher help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of growth.
My best day in the classroom was when…
I had been working with a class on the social studies unit on community. Each day we learned about how we are a part of many different communities. On one particular day, we were reading about ant colonies and a student all of a sudden raised her hand and said, “An ant colony is like a community but for ants. They live and work together.” It was amazing to not only see the light bulb go on but for her to be able to use her knowledge from one subject to help her understand another. I was literally beaming.
The best compliment I ever received was...
The best compliment that I ever received was having a former student come back and tell me that because I was so positive and always there for him that he completed high school and is now in a community college taking courses. He says he thinks about how every day I would come into the classroom energized and ready to help him through the day. He says that just by asking him how he was feeling, what his goals were for the day, and how were we, as a team going to meet those goals, made him feel important and like he really mattered. He says to this day he thinks about that every morning as he is getting ready for school and it gives him the ability to do well.
What's your favorite part of the school year?
My favorite part of the school year is November. I like this time of the year because the children are starting to be able to really grasp the lessons that I have teaching them. In my Pre-K class, this is the time that the children are just starting to be able to write their whole names by themselves and they get so excited.
What is your one must-have item for the classroom?
What do you eat for breakfast on school days?
What movie or TV show do you secretly love?
Sons of Anarchy
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