Following the announcement of January’s Teacher of the Month, the Monsters touched base with Mrs. Friedel to discuss her favorite aspects of teaching and how she’s adapting during this time.
How have you been adapting to teaching in a new way during these times and continuing to connect with the students?
Fortunately, our district has had an in-person option from the start of the year. Even though our desks are spread apart and we wear masks all day my room is filled with little 3rd grade voices and laughter. Some of my lessons and routines have been changed up a bit but things are always changing in education and we as teachers need to be flexible and be able to adapt. We have had a few weeks of virtual and I've learned way more than I ever thought I would about google meets and google classroom. Thankfully we had these resources to still be able to connect and teach. While we are all anxiously awaiting for the world to be back to normal, I am thankful I'm seeing my students in-person each day.
What has been the most meaningful moment in your teaching career?
I recently received a message from a former student's mom. This student came to me disliking school. She told me that her son said, "she was the best teacher ever-she changed my mind about school." This was so meaningful to me because I was able to show him that learning can be fun. I saw an amazing difference in this student from the beginning of the year to our last day together. My first priority with my students is to form a positive relationship. We have lots of conversations that don't necessarily involve curriculum. I want to know who my students are, their likes and dislikes, what motivates them, and what they care about. Once a student feels safe, comfortable, and loved then I'm able to teach curriculum.
What is something you look forward to doing with your students every year?
One thing I look forward to every year is our end of the year memory book project. We create a book that hold writings and pictures of our time together. When I pass out the pictures I've taken throughout the year the kids get so excited remembering all the fun things we did. It's such a happy moment for me knowing they have positive memories of our year.
What is a way that has stood out in which you were supported or learned from your fellow teachers and how important is that support system especially in these times?
I have been lucky enough to find a teaching partner that has been a mentor and a friend. I am the teacher I am today because of her and the team I work with every day. We plan together, give each other advice, help each other through the difficult days, and celebrate the good days. I am surrounded by amazing teachers who go above and beyond for their students daily. This year has been challenging. We've been through all kinds of emotions but we've also kept telling each other that we can do this and we'll get through it together. They are my work family and I am so grateful for them.