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Teacher of the Day

Name:  Tami Elton

School: Palm Bay High School

Subject: English I

State:  Florida

What or who inspired you to become a teacher?

I am an accidental teacher.

For most of my life, I was pegged as one who would "be a teacher when she grows up." Being moderately rebellious, I swore that prediction would never be fulfilled.

However, the day came when my stock answer to the question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" was no longer acceptable and I was forced to choose a college major. I chose education -- more specifically, a newly developed major listed as Social Sciences/Secondary Education -- because I figured it would be an easy ride.

After all, I never intended to actually teach. I was to be appointed, by the governor, to a position in our state's Dept. of Juvenile Justice. Teach? Pshaw!

Problem #1: I didn't know the governor.
Problem #2: He didn't know me.
Problem #3: I needed a job.

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

I am more relaxed.

Not that I do not always think I could have/should have/would have done better by my kids. Au contraire. That being so, I am comfortable in my role and in my ability to excel and continually improve.

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

Do the best you can given the limits of your position/school/district/federal and state mandates and your kids.

My best day in the classroom was when…

I realized that, despite the vagaries of adolescents, parents, public opinion, legislation, etc., we are most likely going to be okay when the Class of fill-in-the-blank is in charge of the world.

The best compliment I ever received was...

Student: I wish you were my mom.
Parent: I wish you'd been my teacher.

What's your favorite part of the school year?

The first day of school, the last day of school.

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

Books, books, and more books!

What do you eat for breakfast on school days?

String cheese. No, I'm not kidding.

What movie or TV show do you secretly love?

The Bachelor/Bachelorette.


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