Search form

Teacher of the Day

Name: Barbara Mullen

School: Children's Institute for Learning Differences

Subject: Language Arts, math, science, social studies and social-emotional curriculum

State:  Washington

What or who inspired you to become a teacher?

My mother was the greatest teacher I've ever known. She was a special educator for 25 years before I decided to jump, feet first, into the field. She asked me if I really wanted to teach. Then, I didn't know how much I wanted to teach but I knew I wanted to learn.

She encouraged me to never underestimate my students and to always see the potential in the students I serviced. Right under her, was my high school English teacher. She had such a profound impact on my development.

How are things different for you now, compared to when you first started teaching?

I have been teaching for four years. When I first started teaching, I was scared every day! No matter how many hours I spent preparing a lesson, I was horrified the kids would call me out. They did! I went home feeling defeated and wondering if I was really meant for this profession. As the years passed, I still make mistakes and don't have all the answers. Yet, now I'm not scared. I know I'm meant to teach, and I take that with me every day.

What advice would you give to a new or struggling teacher?

Do what you love. Teach what you love. Teach how you love. I'm not suggesting that you go against the curriculum or learning standards or pacing guides, but in every element of your instruction, add love. That makes it teachable and engaging. Remember that when it's especially hard to get through the day or even the lesson.

My best day in the classroom was when…

a group of struggling learners who didn't write came together and miraculously composed a moving paragraph about giving. They had all the mechanics and details and worked with each other to edit it so that it was correct.

The best compliment I ever received was...

this year, a parent sent an email to one of my administrators stating that her son "enjoys school for the first time." She called me a "treasure." My administrator forwarded it to me, and it made me cry. Her child is one of my most challenging. Some days I feel I'm not making any gains with him. But I guess I am..

What's your favorite part of the school year?

The beginning! I love the start of the school year! I love the new pencils, the new bulletin boards and the new faces full of expectation and excitement.

What is your one must-have item for the classroom?

Schedule with hour-by-hour tasks.

What do you eat for breakfast on school days?

Coffee and yogurt. Oatmeal when I have the time. I try to squeeze it in.

What movie or TV show do you secretly love?

"America's Next Top Model"


Want to be considered for EducationWorld's Teacher of the Day series? Click here.



Education World®
Copyright © 2011 Education World