Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hey there. My name is Erin Clary and I'm a seventh grade social studies teacher. at Dacula Middle School. Dacula Middle School is located into Dacula, Georgia, which is a suburban city Northeast of Atlanta. We've got about 1600 students in our school in grades sixth, seventh and eighth grade. I've been teaching at Dacula Middle School for six out of the nine years that I've been teaching. I've taught sixth, seventh and eighth grade social studies classes."
Why did you start a career in education?
"I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher from the time that I was in early elementary school. My mom is a teacher. Um, my sister is actually a preschool teacher as her second career in life. And as I loved learning about other places and people and cultures around the world, it always just seemed like from very early on that I knew that when I would go to college that I would want to be a social studies teacher to help, um, teach my love of the world to students."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"If I could have any other job in the world, it would probably be either a flight attendant. So that way I could see all of the places around the world, um, and get paid to do so. Or I would want to be a sociologist and study people and cultures and um, just analyze why people do the things that they do. I'm fascinated just by watching people. Um, so that would probably be my, um, other career if I couldn't be an educator."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"I really don't think that kids are that different from 30 years ago. Today. I think that society is different. I think that the priorities that we have placed on, um, adults and on our students are very different in the classroom. The biggest difference that I see is the instant gratification. Kids want everything now. They want to learn now. They want feedback. Now they want to, um, just jump right into learning. Um, and that's something that's very different, um, than 30 years ago."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"30 years ago, it was a lot of the sit and get. Um, whereas, now with technology, we can take our place, our students, places, um, all around the world. We can take them on virtual field trips. Um, we can take them all over the world without leaving our classrooms. Um, so I think that is probably one of the biggest differences, um, from 30 years ago to the present. It's just the wonderful things that technology can do for our students."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"Whenever I hear that someone is thinking about pursuing it, a career in education, um, I really caution them to make sure that, um, this is truly what their passion is and that they are dedicating themselves to. Something that's not a 40 hour a week job. Um, it's not weekends and holidays and summers off because a teacher's mind is always on. It's not that we're just teaching and leading instruction these days. Our students need parents, they need counselors, they need nurses. They need cheerleaders to encourage them to keep going. So, you know, working in this field, um, for the nine years that I've been teaching, I'm working harder this year that I worked as a first year teacher. So the needs of our students, they're, they're just so broad. Um, and we need people who are truly dedicated to meeting the needs of our students."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"The biggest issue that I have been working on with my students, um, to help foster their love of learning is the idea of growth mindset. Um, which is that everyone learns at a different speed and maybe you don't know it. Yep. But you will know it in my county, we get graded on mastery. So it's okay if you don't know something as fast as someone else, you'll have the opportunity to master that concept later. And we replaced the grade so it encourages our students to keep learning and to never give up. So my students, we often talk in my classroom about the power of yet. Um, and that it's okay that you might not know something yet because it's coming for you. I'm really excited about, um, having the opportunity to try out some of the products from TFD supplies teaching middle school. Um, we, a lot of times we put items on our supply list, our wishlist and the fact that our students are middle school students. Um, they don't bring the items necessary to class all the time. I love to personalize education for my kids. I love to create modules and have them work at their own speed because not every child learns at the same speed. Um, so being able to purchase earbuds and headphones to support them and their individual learning journeys, um, is something that I'm really looking forward to. So thank you for the opportunity. So answer these questions and get some much needed supplies for my classroom."