What do you do?
Where do you work and what is your title?
I am a fourth-grade teacher at Buena Vista Elementary School on West Bijou.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
My primary responsibility is to instruct students in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. I also try to encourage them to be responsible members of the classroom and to think about the choices they make. This semester I have been mentoring a student teacher, Dana Warren, who will graduate next week and enter the teaching profession. I’m confident she’ll do a great job, too!
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
I’ve spent 28 years in the classroom. I began teaching in District #11 at Mark Twain Elementary in 1964. At the time, Chelton Road and Academy Boulevard were dirt and there wasn’t much to the east. It was a long time ago!! I took some years off to be a “stay-at-home” mom to my son and daughter (who now is a teacher, too). I came to Buena Vista 14 years ago.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
I’ve always felt that teaching for me was a “calling”– not just a job. Every year brings a fresh start and new experiences and chances to make a difference in children’s lives. I’ve enjoyed sharing my love of reading and the thrill of hearing a parent say their child was enjoying reading for the first time – actually wanting books for Christmas.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
I would want less emphasis on testing and grades to determine growth in learning. I’d like legislators to realize that children come to teachers at all stages of development and will progress at different rates.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
There are many “non-teaching” duties assigned to teachers that education programs don’t cover. I have to referee “disagreements” on the playground. During many track days I’ve been on the losing end of “tug of war” and balloon tosses. I have to be a nurse and decide whether a child is really sick or just “sick of school.” On overnight trips to Golden Bell I’ve been “house mother” to giggly girls who want to talk all night. Fun!!
What makes working on the Westside special?
I appreciate the community feeling. I love the architecture of the older homes and beautiful schools. I had a student last year whose parent and grandparent had attended this school. Westsiders value their neighborhood schools. I especially love my classroom with the beautiful wooden floors and the gorgeous view of Pikes Peak out the windows. I’m so proud to “show off” my school when relatives or friends visit from out of town. Even though I’m retiring this year, I’ll make frequent visits to this part of town. It is special.
“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.