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Middle School Educator of the Year: Carolyn Phelps, Twin Falls Middle School
Meet Carolyn Phelps, a Twin Falls Middle School teacher and one of the Snoqualmie Valley Education Association's 2014 Educators of the Year.
Below, Phelps answers questions about her calling:
Where did you get your bachelor’s and any other degrees?
My first degree is in Computer Information Systems from Metropolitan State University of Denver. I went back to MSU for my teaching credentials too, in 2006.
What do you love about teaching?
I love the kids. I love the Ah-Ha moments they have. I love when a misconception is revealed. I love their sense of humor. I love their willingness to work hard. I love their willingness to please. I love watching them make real life connections to math. I love making a difference.
Did you always want to teach?
My first professional experience I was in an office helping engineers and computer programmers communicate. My favorite part of that career was helping others learn the software or helping others problem solve IT issues. Helping people showed me that my calling was to be a teacher. It seemed to be a natural progression since both of my parents are educators, positive role models and they are an inspiration to the art of teaching.
How do you feel you help create “a positive scholastic environment”?
I put students first. When I am creating lesson plans or attend professional development workshops, I think about how I will impact student learning. Being a teacher at Twin Falls Middle School has been very rewarding. I feel I have been supported and inspired by my administrators and colleagues to offer our students opportunities for success. It is my hope that students understand that learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom; it takes place in daily conversations with each other.
What do your students teach you?
Students teach me a lot! Everyday there is something that I need to consider. For example, they have other homework besides math. And, they have lives outside of school. They are learning the art of balancing academics with other activities. I have learned there is a lot of humility in teaching and creating a safe place for students to be wrong or make mistakes in the classroom. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,” is very true. Students will learn more from you if they know you care about them and are putting them first.