Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week | Phylicia (pRoy)

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week!!! I just want to show love to all the teachers out there giving their all and pouring into our kids. It's a tough job and they are under-appreciated...and often underpaid. These teachers work HARD and they play a very vital role in society. THANK YOU ALL!!!!!


W&I: What grade and subject(s) do you teach?

Phylicia: High School (9-12); Fundamentals of Technology (Technology Education)

W&I: What made you want to be a teacher?

Phylicia: Initially, I wanted to explore the medical background.  My senior year in high school, I got an in-school internship with the technology specialist of my school and assisted her in pretty much running all of the technology in the school. My tasks varied from producing the school webpage (the graphics/layout they still use to this day), conducting workshops for the faculty in assisting them in making their webpages or other technological issues they may have encountered, resetting passwords for server access, and literally putting computers together and taking them apart. I enjoyed what I did and I really enjoyed helping people, so forsaking my love for science and medicine, I embarked upon a journey in Technology Education. Boy, was I bamboozled! Technology Education was not even remotely close to what I was exposed to while in high school, but I was so intrigued by what I was learning that I continued my studies. Technology Education deals more with hands-on learning whereas you learn about all types of technology (i.e. How the Eiffel Tower was made to how to take apart an engine, etc.) and the focus is so broad that it is fun to just learn.

Teaching is in my nature. I have always had a way with interacting with individuals. It was pretty much an inevitable path to take in my life.

W&I: What are the joys of being a teacher?

Phylicia: The biggest joy for me is seeing that student have that "ah-ha" moment. Learning is beautiful and watching a student master a concept that you know he or she will always look back on and say, "Hey, I learned that in Ms. R's class", makes my heart glad. I also enjoy getting visits from my former students who are now out on their own and chasing their dreams. A lot still contact me and come back to see me once they have gone to college and have seen/encountered some of the struggles we discussed before they left. I love the relationship I have built with them as they are able to talk to me about real life and seek guidance and advice.

Yes, we may be out over the summer but realistically, we are always doing something for the classroom.

W&I: The struggles?

Phylicia: Knowing that you can't save everyone. As much as you may try to make sure everyone succeeds, you realize it's really ultimately up to the person to want to make a better life for themselves.  When I first started teaching I couldn't understand it, and I still don't, really. It's just one of those things that you have to accept as life and make sure that you still give your all, regardless of how the outcome may be.

W&I: What keeps you going?

Phylicia: Well, it definitely isn't the money! (Let's just be real!!!) Understanding that I have the ability to mold and shape young minds. It's nothing more impressionable for a teen than to have a terrible/beautiful high school experience. I strive to help them in any capacity that I can whether that be getting into college or completing their English essay. God has given me knowledge and I think it's unfair to keep all of that bottled inside of me.

W&I: Any words of wisdom/encouragement for teachers that may just be starting out or having a hard time?

Phylicia: Be authentic. Let the students see that you genuinely care about their well being and their success. Showing that you care goes a long way. My students love when I can identify a song they are singing, use their "slang" or dress in "the latest" whatever all while keeping it very professional. It let's them know I am human too and not on this unattainable pedestal. Also, forgive and forget! Start everyday like it's a new day and with a fresh attitude. You never know what someone is going through and just as adults, students have bad days, yet unlike adults (most adults, I'll say) they are unaware of how they display their anger and irritation, so sometimes it comes off wrong. Forgive them, even if they hurt your feelings, and forget that it happened. It's healing for you both. And lastly, be firm but fair.  Don't pick favorites, treat everyone equally, and never lower your expectations of a student's conduct/behavior or performance. Contrary to popular belief, students love structure and discipline.

W&I: What changes would you like to see in the education system?

Phylicia: For starters, I would increase the pay for all of the teachers! Some of the kids live better than we do... geez louise. There are also other trivial issues in the education system, but many wouldn't understand unless they are a teacher themselves, so I'd rather not go too much in depth. I just want to let all the law makers out there know that in order to make laws about education (how to run the classroom, how to give assessments, what we have to test and how we will be evaluated) you should have a first hand experience in the classroom. That may sway you to make better decisions - as a matter of fact, I know it will. Walk a mile in my shoes.

W&I: How can we, as a community, help to keep our kids motivated and excited about education?

Phylicia: I'm a firm believer that education starts at home. Reading, writing and mathematics should be introduced way before a teacher comes into play. Those are important subjects that anyone will need to know to survive in society. Teach your kids how to behave in public, how to speak to adults and peers, and how to be active learners! Parents need to be more involved in the student's world which means (but is not limited to) coming to parent-teacher conferences, equipping their students with the necessary tools to survive in the classroom, and focusing on learning outside of these four walls. Introduce them to extracurricular activities - book clubs, educational excursions (i.e. museums, art galleries, etc.) and show them that learning can be fun! Oh yea, and remember: I'm not a babysitter. I'm an educator.

W&I: Amen to all of this!...and *snap snap* to that last line. These interviews have definitely inspired me to want to take my younger kin folk to museums and things and get them more excited about learning. Well, thanks pRoy!! This was great :) Another super fly teacher right here guys...and check out her blog, Steel Feather. Lace Elephant.. It's awesome and I stalk it daily!lol  

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