Name: Sharon Dudley
School: Rogers Heights Elementary School
Subject: Pre K
What or who inspired you to become a teacher?
A teacher over 30 years ago inspired me. Her name was Barbara Like, and she recorded my social studies text for me because at the time I was legally blind and could not read small print. I was so touched by this act that I knew from that moment that I had to become a teacher and help others like Barbara helped me.
How are things different for you now, compared to when you first started teaching?
When I first started teaching I was legally blind and now I'm totally blind, so one of the differences is that I cannot see my students' faces when they are happy or excited, but I can still hear and feel their joy in my heart. I think another significant difference is that less emphasis is being put on social skills and more emphasis is being put on certain areas of cognitive development.
What advice would you give to a new or struggling teacher?
I would tell a new or struggling teacher that he or she is not alone, and that there are many resources in the global community which could help. I would explain that local libraries are a good source of fabulous books. Blogs are a wonderful way to receive new information, great ideas, and free downloads. I would also tell them that there is great music available from iTunes as a wonderful way to teach new strategies, concepts and transitions.
My best day in the classroom was when…
a group of my four-year-olds, who didn't speak much English, called me over to the library center and re-enacted the story "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" with puppets. I had done several puppet shows that week with voices for the billy goats and the troll, and hearing the students use dramatic language and different character voices made me so happy.
The best compliment I ever received was...
from a kindergarten parent who thanked me for teaching her daughter to read. She told me that at the beginning of kindergarten her daughter knew her alphabet but did not know words. She couldn't believe that at the end-of-the-year reading event her daughter was reading first-grade material.
What's your favorite part of the school year?
January, because I've missed the children so much during winter break. Four- and five-year-olds are so happy to come back to school to continue learning and blossoming that it makes school feel like a magical place.
What is your one must-have item for the classroom?
CD player (I love playing all different types of music for my students)
What do you eat for breakfast on school days?
Oatmeal with blueberries.
What movie or TV show do you secretly love?
Pride and Prejudice
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