Hi, I'm Ms. Christy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I consider myself a student and teacher. For 14 years after earning my master's degree in Speech Pathology, I chose to stay at home with my two older children, full time. Based on my life experience as a mother of three children and professional experience as a Speech Pathologist, I have discovered that we learn best when we are having fun and engaged. As a parent of children attending Waldorf education schools, I recognize the beauty and benefits of a non-academic learning environment for early childhood education, which mirrors the home environment and is also rich in language and human connection.
What's your philosophy on what it means to be a great teacher? In my experience, my greatest teacher was curious about life, and shared her love of learning by sharing her authentic excitement about what each day brings, while staying open to learn about herself and others.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a teacher? Incorporate your experiences and interests in whatever you teach, whether it be gardening, painting, words, cooking, dance, visual images, etc.
In your opinion, what is the role of the live teacher in a world where it is becoming increasingly easy to get access to information through the internet and online courses? Human connection is foundational for learning anything, as it supplies the requisite warm and present trial and error practice and feedback that is necessary to explore.
How can we, as teachers of children, work to build a society where people are respectful towards each other and the environment? Inclusion is important. Acceptance built on experience of others living, working, learning, and growing together. Meeting a child where they are, guiding and urging them to unfold, rather than change, and knowing that every individual on this planet has abilities and gifts to share, even though a society may not recognize an ability, that does not diminish or erase the ability or gift. It is our responsibility, as teachers, to discover the child and guide them to unfold.
Who was your favorite teacher and why? My all-time favorite teacher is a woman who taught my 4th and 5th grade classes. She loved what she did and taught for many years with exuberance, by sharing her love of life. Her last name was Krummes, so each year, our classroom turned into Krummesville. We learned to write checks using points that we earned for different tasks. On Halloween, she showed up for part of the school day as her "sister", who was a fun-loving witch who wreaked havoc and playfully messed with our classroom order. We could hold offices in our mini-town and get married and adopt our classmates as our children and function as a family at school. I have so many great memories from that time!
Share a teaching memory that had a profound impact on you. I have had many as a Speech Pathologist. Once when I was working with a father of a two year old boy, I realized that parents teach what they know and my responsibility is to be a voice for the child when necessary. This father showed me a sticker book with 1500 stickers, several pages that held the stickers and then distinct spaces for each sticker. The intention was on the right track with expanding vocabulary, but when the father showed me how he expected the boy to put the stickers "where they belonged" in "the right" spaces, I could see that the dad had expectations that were not matched to the boy's age or development.
What is your philosophy on and approach to behavioral management? In Waldorf education, I have seen the benefits of ritual and routine. Children can get disoriented when they don't know what to expect. This disorientation can be labeled "acting out". The author Kim John Payne writes about children "pinging". Children often send out a signal to us for direction and reassurance that everything is okay. Things like lack of sleep, sickness, hunger, lack of structure and sensory needs can play into the child experiencing disorientation. Disorientation can be resolved in verbal and nonverbal ways where the child feels tended to, seen, acknowledged and reassured.
Do you have experience working with children with special needs? If so, please specify. Yes, I have worked as a Speech Pathologist consistently since 2010. I have focused on the early intervention population (birth to 3 years) primarily for the past 3-4 years.