Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hi, my name is Kandice Hales. I am a second grade teacher at American leadership Academy, San Tan Valley. We are located in San Tan Valley, Arizona and I've been there for five years. This is my fifth year there."
Why did you start a career in education?
"I did I start a career in education. Well, I think of myself as a lifelong learner. I absolutely love learning. I get really passionate about learning new things. So when I decided to be a teacher it was because I wanted to instill that pack, um, passion in young people as well. And I do absolutely love getting my kids excited about learning new things. I am really, um, I get really excited about social studies especially. Um, and I love that my kids are excited about something that typically isn't that exciting to kids like history. Um, so that's why I decided to be an education is because I love learning and so I love teaching other people."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
""If I could have any other job, what would it be and why? And also goes along with teaching that it also goes along with one of my other passions. I absolutely love Disneyland. I love everything about it. I love going there, but I also love the history and the nostalgia behind it. And so I would absolutely, my dream job, I would absolutely love to be a tour guide at Disneyland. When you take a tour at Disneyland, you are hungry for that knowledge and I think that it would be really cool to teach guests about Disneyland, the things that people don't normally know. So that is definitely what I would want to do."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"How are kids different now than 30 years ago? Well, I was a student 30 years ago and I will say that, um, just for my own experiences, I feel like kids have a lot more struggle with executive functioning skills and coping mechanisms for social and behavioral health. Um, I kind of feel like a lot of it does have to do with our rise in technology over a relatively short period of time. We are constantly stimulated by our screens and other forms of technology. Whereas 30 years ago we had technology, but it was very limited and we had to physically go out and find it or it was, I remember getting the day getting to go to the math lab and play Oregon trail or number crunchers was a big deal because we'd only get it every once in a while and we didn't have a computer in our own household. So, and now we're required to be on it constantly. And I think that that constant stimulation has changed our kids' needs for, for social and behavioral health. We socialize differently."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Um, question five, how is teaching different now than 30 years ago? I think it goes along with the same thing. I think it's really the behavioral stuff. Um, also, you know, I speak about technology and on the one hand I think that it has caused a problem, but because it's a part of our everyday life, we need to embrace technology. And I think that there are a lot of great things that can come from it as long as we're not on it all day. Every day. And we do find that balance. Um, I think that teaching is different. We have to be on our toes constantly for those behavioral issues. But also we need to use a variety of forms because of media. It can be, you know, just face to face, regular reading a story and going through our phonics and other skills. But also we need to incorporate that technology because it is what kids have everywhere and it's something that's important to them."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"Uh, how would you tell some, or what would you tell someone right now that is thinking about becoming a teacher? I would tell them that, make sure that you absolutely want to do it because it is a huge sacrifice. It is not just a job. It is a lifestyle. It consumes every bit of your life. You can't go anywhere without running into your students or parents, past students. And, but at the same time, if you do truly want to be a teacher, you will absolutely love it. I live for the moments that I run into my students out at the store. Um, so, and right now being at home with distance learning, I'm, my heart is breaking because I just miss seeing my students every day and getting hugs from them and seeing their smiling faces. And, you know, even just when we're all talking over each other, I miss those silly moments in my everyday life. Um, so it's, it is, people always say it's rewarding, but it really is. It's, it's nice to touch the lives and hearts of hundreds of kids over the years."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"One thing I would change to help kids learn better, definitely looking into those executive functioning skills, you know, helping them with organization, helping them with their behavioral health of, of managing their emotions and getting through all of that and helping them with their memory. Um, and you know, instead of just following a strict curriculum, embedding that, those type of skills into their life. Because without those skills, they can't fully learn. Um, there's a quote that says, stressed brains can't learn. And I think that that is so absolutely true. There are so many other factors that sometimes we don't even know about as educators that kids are dealing with personally. And so, you know, it's not about prying into their lives necessarily, but it's about understanding the whole person. And so that is the most important thing is making time for that versus just teaching the curriculum because there is so much to do every day. Um, and so that is all I have to share with you. Um, I hope that you enjoyed what I had to say and I hope that you have a wonderful day. Thank you."