Cindy Smith, Hayden Peak Elementary
The following was submitted by David Butler.
“I would like to nominate Cindy Smith for the Teacher Feature Award. She is a loving teacher that gets results! Her students love and respect her. She has high standards and expects each of her students to excel and they do. Cindy’s students have consistently shown incredible growth on their academic tests. I recently asked Cindy how she gets the results she is getting. Here is her response:
Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is your question to me on my growth scores for my kiddos. How do you do it?
I have been thinking about this non-stop since you asked me. Here is what I have come up with. Don’t know that its any different then any other teacher though.
I know I have not been teaching in the school system for very long, but my life has been kids. I grew up in a family of 9 children me being the 4th to oldest and yes, with 5 younger siblings and my personality I helped out a lot, I also grew up taking care of other children in the neighborhood. As I went through school I was definitely not the most popular, in fact I was targeted by one kid in particular, who in high school ended up dying in a car accident. I was pretty smart, but not one of the smartest, I worked hard, but not hard enough and I had good teachers but none that made me feel like I was extraordinary.
At the age of 17 I went to New York and was a nanny for over a year, I came home and shortly after worked in a daycare facility. I had other jobs (quite a few actually that did not involve children) I owned a dance studio, was involved with children there (and parents :/) For 15 years I dealt with parents and children within my home. Plus I raised/am raising 9 children.
All of my own children have struggled in school, they have not been top of their class, in fact it has been a struggle for some of them to pull A’s and B’s. This was not from not being pushed and lack of help from home. In fact I sat/sit and helped (help) them often.
So what is it that I do in my own classroom to help my students succeed.
I teach lessons, I hold them accountable, I strive for understanding within my classroom, I stress when they turn in homework, take a quiz and/or a test and don’t quite get it. I worry about each and everyone of them all the time. Wondering whats going on with them at home and in their home life, what can I do to help them succeed in sixth grade, what can I do to prepare them for middle school, what, what, what? (I am sure the other teachers do this as well) I hold after school math tutoring because I feel like math is one of our biggest growths in learning. I stress to them the importance of learning and why they are in school. I work with them one on one when needed (interventions or when ever needed). I worry about if my lessons are being as effective as I would like them to be, how can I keep their interest. I play games, I reward them, I give them consequences, I tell them I have each and everyone of them on a pedestal and I know they are capable of going above and beyond that, I believe in them and know they can achieve and succeed in anything, I cheer them on and I work on positive talk not negative whether it be about school work, each other or about themselves. These are the things I am doing in my classroom, are they different then any other teacher? I doubt it.
One thing I have noticed throughout the years and especially these last couple of years is my ability to love and accept. Do my students drive me crazy? Yes. Do I have hard students? Yes, we all have those kids, I can tell you though no matter how crazy they drive me, no matter what they do, they know I care and love each of them. Do I get along with some better then others? Yes, its the same as any family we click better with some then others because of their personalities, but does it mean I love them any less? No. My students know I look at our class as a family, we are all there to cheer each other on, to help each other out and to accept each other as they are. If one of us struggles we all struggle, if one of us succeeds we all succeed. I love them into learning.
That’s all I can think of. I hope its enough to continue to see the growth in each and everyone of my students. I can be hard, I can expect a lot, but it is because I care. 92%, 85%, they aren’t good enough. It’s not 100%. I want and will reach everyone of them some how, some way.
Thank you again for giving me this opportunity. I love teaching and I hope to never get to a place where I don’t. Please let me know when and where I need to work on things. I am always open to feedback in my teaching and ways I can be better.
As you can see, Cindy is an amazing teacher and extremely deserving of this reward. I love her quote, “I love them into learning.” This totally sums up what type of teacher she is. I hope you will consider recognizing Cindy Smith for this award.
Principal, Hayden Peak Elementary”
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