Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hello. My name is Angela Miller. I teach at Jefferson Elementary. Um, I teach fifth grade. This is my eighth year here. Um, fifth grade is basically the only grade that I taught. Um, when I was student teaching nine years ago, I taught fifth and fourth grade split combo class."
Why did you start a career in education?
"Why did I start a career in education? I started a career in education because I wanted to be able to help students, um, discover that even though education or what they're doing is hard, that they too can do it. Um, I think a lot of that is based when I was younger and I struggled in school and, um, it was really difficult for me, but I kept trying and I had teachers that were helpful to that and would really help me become a better student and learn more."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"If I could have any other job. What would it be? Um, you know, I don't know. I know that I spent the first, um, 10 years of my children's life being a stay at home mom and I think that was really, um, the best job for me at the time. And so I guess if I could have any other job, um, I think it would be that, um, maybe someday be a stay at home grandma and babysit my kid, my kids' babies while they have to go to work."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"How are kids different now than 30 years ago? Well, I know that kids in my area really struggle, um, with having even two parents. I know that a lot of times even if they do owe two parents, both of them are working. Um, parents have to work a lot more now than they used to 30 years ago. And, um, I know 30 years ago, a lot of times parents, not all parents had to work or not our parents had to work full time, but it's this, at least in the community I live in, all parents are struggling to make ends meet and they have to work a lot. Sometimes two or three jobs is to make ends meet."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"I think that teaching is different now than 30 years ago. Um, we just have a lot more issues with society. We have a lot more problems that we need to cover for our students. We have a lot more, um, problems, but we need to help our students, um, come over, uh, technology. Everyone has a computer, a cell phone, right, connected to them all the time. And although that's a great thing for us, that can also be provide many challenges over that. And so I think that's, that makes education different. Um, also I think education is different in the mindset. Um, a lot of people, um, 30 years ago, you know, what the teachers said was, was it what the teacher said? Everyone believed what the teachers had. And now it's kind of opposite of that. Now we kind of, we really have to prove ourselves to that. We have to prove that teachers have to prove that they are correct. Um, parents don't really believe the teachers anymore. They believe their kid, their student."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"I wouldn't tell anyone that. Just thinking of becoming an educator to really think of your reasons why, um, you know, you just don't do the job of education because you want summers off where you want a two week long Christmas vacation or something like that. Because those aren't really the good reasons why it's nice. But truthfully, teachers don't get all of that time off. I spend a lot of my Christmas break working on this semester, on second semester items. I spent my Christmas break working on what I'm going to do an afterschool in the summer. Um, I teach summer school, so there's five weeks. Um, you know, that I'm busy with summer school, then I go, um, support my union, um, Kay and EA or an at the NEA conference. And, um, so that's a week, you know, and then after, like, I think after that I get a week off and then I have another week long and service that I have with my school and we learn and you know, we start planning for the next school year. We have a few more weeks off and then guess what? It's time to come back and start teaching again. You know, start working in my classroom, getting things ready so I don't have a lot of summer off. And so I love what I do. But if that's why you're getting in on it, then it's not really, not really why you should, you should be wanting to do it because you want to help children that you want to help education, that you want to do what's best for kids."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"What does that other thing I would change to help kids learn better? You know, I would just change their mindset. I just feel like so many kids these days feel like they can't do it. It's just too hard. And I know a lot of that has to do with their socioeconomic status. You know, they just, they just don't see a way to come out of the poverty the life. So they live in and it's, it's really sad because you see these kids and they're, they're, they're, um, you know, well that's what my parents do and that's okay. But they don't because they don't know any better. They don't know that they really can get out. And so they just think that's what I'm gonna do. And that's okay. And so I think that I would just change the way kids see themselves and the way kids can feel that they, they too can improve and they can become something, whatever they want to become."