Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hi, my name is Teresa and I teach first grade in a St.Louis suburban school district. This is my first year at this local school, but I've been teaching for 34 years."
Why did you start a career in education?
"My desire to begin teaching began when I was able to teach my little sister how to read when she was only four and a half, five years old."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"Another position that I would like to have if I weren't a teacher would be a daycare director or owner so that I could help build those foundational years for other children."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"Kids today are less socially aware of how they should work together. Um, mostly because of technology and their dependency on technology and their ability to entertain by themselves. Um, sometimes they don't seem to understand or know how to function in a group setting."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Um, teaching today is so different than it was 34 years ago when I started. I, the biggest thing I would say is, um, technology. When I started at 34 years ago, we have chalkboards with colored chalk with our excitement and and overhead projector that sometimes worked if the bulb was okay. Now, we have technology and our internet wasn't working the other day and the teacher was like, I don't think I can teach today because I don't have my internet. And I just kinda laughed. Um, one thing that technology can't replace is the paper pencil skills that we still need with our children."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"Um, if I was going to speak to a group of teachers or student teachers training to be teachers, I would say get all the training and experience you can right now, but know that in the future you will need to be a lifelong learner in order to keep up with the current trends in education."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"If there was one thing I could change in classrooms, it would be the high stakes testing as well as the class size. High-stake testing doesn't really do much for anybody, and especially in the first grade where there's so much growth and even students who don't make it at the beginning really can't open up and make it at the end. Um, class size is really important, and I think that with smaller classes, we could still make a bigger difference. Thank you."