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Can you tell us about yourself? 

Hi, my name is Valerie Young Baldwin. I am currently a media specialist slash librarian slash teacher at Felix A Williams Elementary School in Stuart, Florida. I have been here for 15 years and an educator for 32 years. Actually, this is the start of year 33.


Why did you start a career in education?


I started a career in education because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to encourage kids. I wanted to excite them. I wanted them to learn and be excited about learning.

If you could have any other job what would it be and why?

if I could have any other job than this, I really love being a librarian. It was the first job I ever wanted to have as a kid because I was a book nerd. I love books. I love reading, which is how I transitioned from teaching. Second, third, fourth, and fifth grade to being the media specialist librarian because of my love of reading. So if I could do any other job, I would, I would be a storyteller, um, a reading motivator. And, um, I would like to work for audible and read books with all my different voices on, um, the audible app. I think that would be really cool. That would be a good job.

How are kids different now than 30 years ago?


How are kids, different kids, 30 years ago were more respectful of each other and of adults, not just adults, but of each other as well. I don't think there were as many mean kids.


How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?

Teaching is different now than 30 years ago, because 30 years ago, no computers, no tablets, no technology, a chalkboard, and chalk. And you had to teach, um, with your excitement, with the force of your personality, with your everything. And now we rely so much on, um, technology. It's ridiculous. So that's how teaching is really different.


What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?


And what would I tell someone right now? Who's thinking about becoming a teacher, not everybody is meant to be a teacher. Not everybody's good at it. If you don't like kids, you probably shouldn't be a school teacher. And if you don't like, or if you have control issues, a lot of control issues, um, you'll need to let some of those go and you're not going to love every kid that you get 

and you may not even like some of them, but you better find something to like about them so that you can teach them in a positive way, rather than a negative way, because you're not going to like them all, but you better find something that you like about them. So if you're going to become a teacher but like kids don't do it for the money and, um, not everybody's cut out for it. So try it and see. 

What would you change to help kids learn better?

And one thing I would change to help kids learn better. You gotta be straight with kids. They can tell if you're full of baloney. They can tell if you're insincere and you've got to earn their respect, you've got to excite them and you've got to give them confidence in themselves and not beat them up. You got to pump them up and give them the confidence to be anybody and do anything. Those are the answers to my seven questions. I cannot wait to get my coupon for my free earbuds. Thank you very much.

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