Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hi, I am Mrs. Jones. I am a sixth grade science teacher at new Providence middle school in Clarksville, Tennessee. I have been teaching sixth grade for one year and have 10 years of elementary experience. Third, fourth and fifth grade and fifth grade is where I started using the TFD headphones."
Why did you start a career in education?
"I began a career in education when my children were in school. I've done a number of different careers, um, and just felt like I needed to do and to be able to give a little bit more and felt like education was going to be the best place for me to do that."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"If I could have any other job, uh, would have been Marine biologists, which makes it perfect for me to be in the science classroom because it's the perfect opportunity in place for me to share my love and passion of the ocean with my students. Especially landlocked in Tennessee."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"Students today are very different from the students of 30 years ago, uh, in in many ways. One of them being, having the support of a parent at home, um, got single household, single parent households and some of those parents work full time. So there isn't someone at home to offer the help and the resource, um, for that student. Um, and in another way technology has just boomed and bloomed um, accessibility to so many different things to students, uh, educationally for entertainment purposes, just so many different things. A lot of them being distractions too."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"So learning looks different, which means teaching has to look different as well. So because the learning is different and um, occurs through a lot of the use of technology, uh, students at my school are one-on-one with their own laptop that they get to take home. Uh, our resources are all online textbooks online. So that means that as a teacher, I have to make sure that my students have the accessibility, uh, to the internet to be able to research things. Um, check out classrooms, Google classrooms and things that I put in to be able to access the web and, um, work through all of the websites. Um, anything that we do is, is technology based nowadays and um, right on down to activities that we can do online now. Uh, it's an incredible resource. It's an incredible tool. Uh, it does sometimes take away opportunities, hands on things. So you really have to find ways to incorporate that and um, keep the kids engaged and doing the traditional things that we used to do 30 years ago."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"If I was able to talk just someone right now that was thinking about becoming a teacher. I would ask them to first just take a really good look at what they think the expectation is. It's not just in the classroom teaching the curriculum, it's getting to know students, showing that you care about the students, listening to the students social skills. It goes emotional skills. It goes way beyond just physically teaching a curriculum. Um, you truly, truly, truly have to be invested in every student that walks through your door in order to get any kind of result curriculum wise from them. Uh, it's a lot. It can be incredibly rewarding and incredibly heartbreaking at the same time because these kids have stories. Every one of their stories are genuine and very real to them. And it's understanding that offering support to them, um, helping them way outside of school hours. Um, but I would encourage you if that is you and you can go through and beyond the expectation of a normal nine to five or seven to three, it's, it's the most rewarding thing that you'll ever do. And I'm getting a phone call or an email or a letter from a student that you've impacted will forever impact and change you. Um, it's, it's the best thing."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"There's one thing that I could do to help kids learn better. It would be to make sure that everyone has equal access to all of the resources and the school supplies that they need on a regular basis, uh, outside of just the pencils and the paper. Um, making sure that they have access to the internet, making sure that they have access to technology itself. Uh, making sure that they have the support of people around them, helplines hotlines, anything that they could do to be able to access that. And knowing that not everyone has family at home that can help them. Um, I would love to be able to make sure that every kid was on the same playing field as every other so that they were offered every opportunity, those opportunities to reach their dreams, to go after them, to have the confidence, uh, and the belief in themselves that they are capable of anything that they put their mind to. Um, teaching is hard work. Being an educator is such a rewarding job. Uh, it's taxing. It takes its toll on you, especially once you get emotionally invested in these children, but it's exactly what they need and it's so very worth it. And I'm just incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to impact every one of my students every day."