Written by Derrek Studebaker, AmeriCorps member serving on the New Schools for Baton Rouge Team at Claiborne Elementary School.
I don’t think it is possible to feel prepared to work in a class full of third graders after just a few weeks of training—at least it wasn’t for me. Less than two months into the year, however, I do feel somewhat prepared every day to work with these students. The biggest reason that I feel confident now is that my teacher, Mrs. Blair Simpson, has taught me how to handle students in a professional, yet caring, way. I didn’t have any idea how I would handle a student who refused to listen or do work. From the first day I observed how my teacher handled situations, as well as asked her for advice, until I felt confident handling certain things myself. I wondered how Ms. Simpson came to know so much, so I decided to ask!
Q: How long have you been teaching?
A: I have been teaching for two and a half years.
Q: Where did you go to school and what degree did you get?
A: I went to the University of Southern Mississippi and got a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
Q: Why did you choose to come to Baton Rouge to teach?
A: I came here for my husband’s job, but I am so glad I’m here.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: Definitely the kids. They are crazy, but I love them. It also helps that I moved up a grade level with my students, so I have a great relationship with them already.
Q: What is your least favorite part of your job?
A: Any part of the job that doesn’t directly impact the students.
Q: If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Don’t give up, and believe you can truly achieve anything if you try.
Q: If you could give new teachers/corps members one piece of advice would it be?
A: Don’t become discouraged, and recognize your limitations in your job.
Q: Is there anything else you want to say?
A: Obviously some people do this job just for that—a job. I think what makes me successful is that I am here for the children all the time. If you remember your passion you will be more successful.