I had the pleasure to interview Miss Diana Hale, who is a second grade teacher from Santiam Christian School, and I have known her for three years. While I was in high school, I was involved with Cadet Teaching. Miss Hale was my mentor teacher then. My junior year in high school, I was a teaching assistant in first grade. Miss Hale had been a first grade teacher since she worked at Santiam Christian. I truly enjoyed working with her, so I decided to be a cadet teacher for second grade my senior year in high school. For some reasons, Miss Hale got move to teach second grade, so I had a pleasure to work with her again. Those were the time I experienced in the environment of classrooms as an educator, and it was such an amazing experience. I began to realize what teachers have to go through, and how hard teachers have to work. Even though I am a college student now, I still often go back and be an assistant for Miss Hale. When I noticed that I need to interview an educator, I immediately thought that Miss Hale would be the perfect person for me to interview.
While Miss Hale was in college, she did not specifically aim for becoming a teacher. In fact, it just happened naturally from being involved in life guard, youth groups, and a lot of other opportunities to work with children. As she moved further in life, she got an opportunity to become an educational assistant. That was when she really decided that she really wanted to teach elementary, and began to be a substitute teacher. She appreciates how God gives her the abilities of leaderships and encouragement. Miss Hale truly enjoys teaching because she can show the children that all things are possible, and she especially enjoys the Christian school’s environment. She gets to teach truth and to be honest with her children about what she believes. Her goal is to help her kids see Jeremiah 29:11-13. For instance, during Easter, she can not only do Easter egg hunt with the children, but also share the real meaning of Easter. Another reason that she truly enjoys teaching is that she got to see how her children grow overtime. At Santiam Christian School, the grade levels are from preschool through high school. She is often impressed about how fast her children grow, and to watch them use the skills she installed in them. Furthermore, partnerships and the community at Santiam Christian are amazing, she often has high schooler coming back as a cadet teacher, and she got some opportunities to learn at the same time.
There are a lot of teaching strategies that Miss Hale use in her classroom. For instance, she has a set of traffic light in her classroom to help the children determine what time it is. If it is testing time, she will turn on red light. That means there is absolutely no sound. If it is worksheets time, she will turn on yellow light. That means you can talk if you need help. Another strategy is through communication. For example, when Miss Hale says eyes up, the kids will respond listen up. Also, Miss Hale use stickers to encourage her kids. If they get twenty stickers, they will get to be in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, where the children will get special treats. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is the theme of Miss Hale’s classroom.
Miss Hale has been at Santiam for ten years, and this is her eleventh years of teaching. Things can really be different if you know you are doing a job that you are really passionate about (Illinois Education Association, 2015). Miss Hale always told me that teaching is a work of heart, and that it is what we need as educators. Although she conceded that sometime is hard to include everyone. She always tries to push and challenge her students. In addition, since she works at a private school, it is hard to get support for special education students. She will have to find support on her own, and she currently has a kid with ADHD, which she finds an assistant that is willing to help out in her classroom for that student. Miss Hale mentioned about her views of reading, and she said that she realized each kid has different reading level. Santiam Christian has a reading system called AR reading, and basically will test to see where each student is in his reading. This system allows the kids to pick the levels that fit him. Miss Hale think it is totally fine if some kids are below second grade reading level, and she believes each kid develop differently.
While reading is important, Miss Hale always tries to balance different subjects. For instance, she will try to combine some subjects together, like writing and history. If the class is talking about George Washington in history, then the students will write about George Washington in writing. Since Miss Hale works at a private school, she is not required to follow the Common Core. She is required to follow Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), but she keeps track of the Common Core as well. While I interviewed Miss Hale, we were discussing about the Common Core. Let’s take first grade for example, “reasoning about attributes of, and composing and decomposing geometric shapes” (Oregon Department of Education, 1998-2016). We can see how high the standard is from the Common Core, and people expect the first grader to do reasoning. Miss Hale and I are on the same page about the Common Core, and we both believe that the Common Core should not be the standard for education in the United States. It does not help the students in any ways, and that it is not helpful. The experiences I had from high school helped me see that each child is unique, and educators should maintain professionalism for all their students.
Finally, educators really need to put effort into their job, and it is not easy to maintain professionalism. It really need to come from the bottom of your heart and to be passionate about teaching. Miss Hale is truly an excellent example for me, and I am truly blessed to have the opportunities to work with her. She truly taught me a lot in and out the classroom, and it will lead me far for sure. The experiences I had in Miss Hale’s classroom since high school helped me see that the field of education truly involves professionalism.