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Teachers of NCCAT - Amy Shores North Topsail Elementary in Pender County

After 23 years of teaching in the elementary setting, there are many things I would tell my first- year self. One of the most important things to remember is to be your genuine self. Your students want to know about you. The more of yourself that you share with your students, the more they will understand you and take interest in what you are teaching. The same goes for them. 


Get to know your students, not just on an academic level, but also on a personal level. Learn about their families and what makes them happy. Make contact with each parent early in the year with a positive note or phone call. Parents enjoy hearing that!  Remember that every child comes into your classroom with a unique background and the more we know about that, the better we can work to make each child successful. Sometimes, school will not be the most important focus in a child’s life on a given day. Show empathy.


Another important thing to remember is that you must be flexible! Be willing to sacrifice a well written lesson plan for a teachable moment, any day. Some of the best lessons and discussions I’ve had with students came from a question or moment that wasn’t written in my plans. Those meaningful moments will stick with your students for a long time. Along the same line, make learning fun for your students. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and be silly with your kids. Learning is supposed to be fun!  When you can show that you are enjoying a lesson, it will be contagious with your students. Be passionate about what you are teaching!


Above all else, show and teach kindness every day. Every person in your school building deserves the same amount of respect. Model that for your children. Smile and say hello to every person you meet. Your smile might be the first positive thing that a child or adult has seen in the morning. Be that person! The memory of a child’s test score will fade long before the memory of how you treated your students. Love them. Make sure they know that you love them, especially the most difficult children. They need it the most. The love that you invest in your students and your school family will come back to you in the most unexpected ways. The riches of this career are not monetary, but in priceless relationships that will last a lifetime. Teach your students to be better human beings. If you can leave this profession knowing that you have helped to make the world a better place, then it’s a job well done!

(Amy Shores, North Topsail Elementary Pender County)


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