Experienced gardeners utilize companion gardening to improve the growth of their plants. This means they plant certain vegetables and plants near each other. Marigolds are one of the best companion plants. They help vegetables grow big, strong, and healthy.
Marigolds exist in Twin Rivers schools as well.
New Teacher Support is celebrating the Mentor Marigolds who support our newest Twin Rivers teachers in their first years of teaching. A Marigold Moment is a spotlight on a TR mentor and the new teacher he/she supports. We invite you to get to know some of the mentors and new teachers in our district.
New Teacher: Audrey Chapman Mentor: Lindsay Rasmussen
New Teacher Audrey:
Hello! My name is Audrey. I teach first through third grade in the BRIDGE program at Twin Rivers. I absolutely adore my students and their families. This year has not been ideal, but we have embraced it whole-heartedly and are making the most of it together! I have always been heavily involved in school from Kindergarten onwards. I was on the track system in elementary school, so whenever I was on break, you would find me volunteering daily in another teacher’s classroom who was still on track. Education has always been my end goal for my career. I was never one of the kids who went back and forth when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was always “TEACHER!” As soon as I graduated highschool, I jumped into my first teaching position as a lead pre-kindergarten teacher at a private preschool. I stayed in the preschool setting for almost 6 years before moving onto my current position. I am so pleased with the transition and look forward to the many years to come.
What do you like best about teaching so far? Do you have a favorite teaching moment you’d like to share?
As of now, my favorite thing about teaching is the little faces I get to greet every morning. My students are so kind and nurturing towards one another and all staff members. They have really embraced this whole distance learning thing without hesitation. Everyday they are accomplishing something great and new! It has been an honor watching my students show such resilience. It is extremely challenging to choose one favorite teaching moment. Everyday I am filled with joy and laughter due to my student’s growing minds. One moment that is currently sticking out to me, is when a student requested I end my turn so he can have a turn. He wanted to demonstrate his new addition and subtraction skills for his peers to see and to me that was a great act of self-advocacy.
This month’s habit is Play and Create. “Creativity and play unlock inner resources for dealing with stress, solving problems, and enjoying life”, thereby fueling resilience. In keeping with the spirit of playfulness and creativity, if you could have one teacher super-power, what would it be? How would this power make you a better advocate for your students?
One teacher super-power I wish I could have to better advocate for my students is the power to read the minds of parents with boundaries, of course. With Special Education, it is important that the family’s voice speaks the loudest. From parent to parent, it is very different in terms of comfort levels when speaking out about future wants, needs, and priorities for their student. If I could read the mind’s of parents, it would allow me the opportunity to uncover every priority for the family that might go unspoken or be left out within a conversation by accident. That would allow me to advocate for my students down to the last want and need possible, which would be such an eye opening experience.
Courage is this month’s disposition and it single-handedly strengthens all of the other dispositions. Teaching is a daily act of courage in our opinion. You have entered the teaching profession in the midst of a global pandemic and political and social unrest. Taking all of your beginning teacher experiences into mind, what does courage mean to you? Would you share one way you’ve shown courage this year?
To me, courage within education is stepping outside of your comfort zone to best support your students and families to the highest extent possible. I very much so enjoy my comfort zone as a teacher, as a person within my society, and as a wife. However, if I stayed in my comfort zone, I would never be able to grow, learn, and implement all of the wonderful things this world has to offer, across all environments I am a part of. I never thought my first year teaching would be during such a time that challenges everything I have ever been taught. For me, the most courageous thing I have done this year is reaching out to the general education teachers at my site to request/collaborate on how my students can be included in their class activities without even having the opportunity to build those important/in-depth relationships that in-person interactions would allow.
I am a Special Education TOSA (teacher on special assignment), which means I get to support our incredible teachers in the areas of curriculum, professional development and instructional strategies. Ever since I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a teacher—I was the kid who loved playing pretend school with stuffed animals and made their younger sibling recite the ABC’s. My original plan was to get my multiple subjects credential, but changed direction after I began working for a company providing in-home behavior therapy for children with autism. Shortly after working with this special group of kids and their families, I switched paths to pursue my credential in special education.
What do you like best about mentoring? Do you have a favorite mentoring moment you’d like to share?
My top things I like best about mentoring: 1) reminding new teachers to slow down to celebrate victories both big and small; 2) sharing stories about my first year teaching…the good, the bad and the ugly- because we’ve all been there!; 3) watching the growth from the beginning of the school year to those last days in May; 4) seeing those “aha” or “lightbulb” moments when an instructional strategy or method clicks for a mentee; 5) the opportunity to collaborate and learn from teachers who have just taken graduate classes with the most recent best practices and come with a fresh lens and perspective.
One of my favorite memories of being a mentor was watching a mentee (and dear friend) graduate with her credential. This teacher began her special education journey in my classroom as a paraeducator and she was a natural! I was thrilled when she decided to pursue her credential and especially elated when she asked me to be her mentor as she took on an internship while completing her courses. Her passion, creativity and advocacy for students sparks excitement with everyone she works with. I was proud of all she accomplished to get across that stage and honored to be a part of her journey as an educator.
This month’s habit is Play and Create. “Creativity and play unlock inner resources for dealing with stress, solving problems, and enjoying life”, thereby fueling resilience. In keeping with the spirit of playfulness and creativity, if you could have one mentor super-power, what would it be? How would this power make you a better advocate for your new teachers?
My ideal mentor superpower would be a crystal ball for mentees to peak into the future. The first year for new teachers is often overwhelming and it becomes difficult to see the steady growth of your students, classroom management and as a teacher when you’re in the thick of it. On the tough days, I would love to pull out my crystal ball for new teachers to see how far they will have come by the end of the year from the day-after-day dedication.
Courage is this month’s disposition and it single-handedly strengthens all of the other dispositions. Teaching is a daily act of courage in our opinion. As an educator, and a mentor, what does courage mean to you? Would you share one way you’ve shown courage in your career?
I believe one of my greatest gifts I had to give my students was the understanding that “one size does not fit all” and adjusting my instructional strategies to meet my students’ learning styles. For me, putting my personal preferences aside to ensure students were their most successful was an act of courage accompanied with many other traits such as humility, persistence and so on. Courage to admit I needed a different approach to reach the student. Courage to step out my comfort zone and implement new strategies. Courage to receive constructive feedback from others on my practices. Courage to try a new method without knowing if it would be effective or fail. And, courage to pick myself up, readjust my approach and try again.