Welcome to Feature Friday! Where we showcase a new teacher each week in an interview. For past Feature Friday interviews, go here.
Today’s Feature Friday is highlighting Hannah Giles. Hannah teaches first grade in Idaho. She received her education at Brigham Young University of Idaho. Here’s what Hannah has for us today!
What is your favorite thing about teaching first grade?
“First grade is my favorite because my students are still excited about learning! They are so sweet and come to school with smiles on their faces no matter what they have going on outside of school. It’s really fun being around their positive attitudes every day and their energetic personalities!”
What made you want to go into teaching?
“I have always loved working with children and helping them learn new skills, so it was only fitting that I go into education! I have a degree in early childhood education and special education, and I always enjoyed being around my uncle who had special needs when I was younger. My interactions with him inspired me to get the special education part of my degree, even though I currently teach in a general education classroom.”
If you could recommend one children’s book, what would it be and why?
“I would highly recommend “The Bad Seed” by Jory John and Petel Oswald! This is a great story about a seed who has a bad experience which makes him a mean and bitter seed. No one likes to be around him because of the way he acts towards the people around him. In the end, he learns that it’s okay to have bad days but it’s not okay to treat the people around you poorly! There are two other books by these two authors called “The Good Egg” and “The Cool Bean” which are also great!”
What do you wish someone would have told you in your first year teaching?
“I wish that someone would have told me that it’s okay for a lesson or activity not to work and to keep trying new ideas. You’re not going to reach every single student in the same way, but that’s only because they are all different! Students will remember more of how you made them feel in the classroom and the relationships you build. After the relationship is built, the real learning begins!”
Who influenced you most to choose a career education?
“I had several teachers while growing up who influenced my choice to go into education! Michelle Watson taught me in fourth and sixth grade. She was an amazing teacher in the way she delivered lessons as well as the relationships she built with her students. I always knew that if I became a teacher, I would want to be just like her!”
What are the benefits you’ve seen in collaborating with your team of teachers?
“I work in a school that has a Spanish Immersion program and I have a partner teacher who teaches Spanish to our first graders for half the day while I teach English! Then we switch and do it again with the other half of our students. It is a small school, so we are the only first grade teachers, and I could not do it without her. She is an amazing teacher, and I have learned so much from working with her. She has taught me behavior strategies that have helped with some of the most difficult students. Collaboration is so important in teaching, and I lucked out with the best partner!”
How has teaching in a rural area affected your teaching, both positive, and negative?
“Teaching in a rural area has its pros and cons. The community is small, so it’s nice to know most of the parents and families that live there. The town I teach in has a very low SES which makes the kids there very humble and appreciative of everything. They are amazing kids! The main downside is that there are several students who come from hard home lives. Some of the students only eat the food they receive at the school, and it breaks my heart! Overall, I definitely prefer teaching in a small, rural school even with the negative sides of it.”
Thanks, Hannah for your great insight. I think it’s always fun to explore the point of view from a rural teacher because those are the schools I grew up going to. Come back next week for our next Feature Friday to hear from another Idaho teacher!