I am thrilled to introduce everyone here at My Teachers Lounge to another incredible resource for teachers, Shelley Gray’s Teaching in the Early Years. Shelley will become a monthly writer here at the Lounge, and her blog is a place for a host of practical resources and printables for elementary -aged students. Be sure to stop by her blog, Teaching in the Early Years and read her bio on our Writers Page. Welcome to the Lounge, Shelley!
- Editor, Laura L. Parker
I graduated from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 2005. I took the Middle Years program and thought that I was destined to teach grade 7 and 8, but ended up getting my first teaching position in a grade 3/4 multi-age classroom. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with that age group. I continued to teach grade 3 and 4 students for several years.
What is one of your favorite things about teaching?
I have many favorite things about teaching! One is the challenge of making learning fun. I love taking what has the potential to be dull subject matter and making it engaging. There is no better feeling than to observe and be a facilitator of student engagement and watch it translate into an excitement and love for learning!
Another thing that I love about teaching is the opportunity to be a positive influence. As teachers we have such a powerful role, especially since some students see us more than they see their own families. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to be positive role models and someone who can really make a difference in a child’s life.
What books/resources have shaped you or would you recommend to other teachers?
The book that had the most profound impact on my teaching was the very first professional book that I ever read, “The First Days of School” by Harry Wong. I continued to read this book before every school year. The best tip that I try to always remember is to establish positive relationships and predictable procedures. I recommend this book to all teachers, even those who have been teaching for years!
I have also had the opportunity to work with some amazing colleagues who have helped to shape my own teaching style and forced me to look at teaching from a different perspective. It is so beneficial to collaborate with other teachers.
Today, the high quality of education-related blogs on the Internet allows me to continue to grow professionally. Teachers around the world are doing amazing things and I love how we can all connect through our blogs and other social media avenues.
What aspect of education are you most passionate about today?
Because I am taking a few years away from the classroom to raise my kids, I am currently most passionate about creating teaching resources which I offer on TeachersPayTeachers. I absolutely love learning about pedagogy and the “art of teaching.” I try very hard to use my interest in pedagogy in order to infuse my resources with useful, relevant and engaging content and activities.
What is a favorite inspirational quote that encourages you to teach with intention?
I love this quote from Albert Einstein: “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” To me, this quote emphasizes the important fact that teaching is so much more than simply passing on knowledge. Instead, teaching is creating an excitement for learning and a desire to continue learning.
What advice would you give a younger teacher?
Remember that the students are the ones doing the learning. I attended a professional development session once where the presenter said this, and it truly did change my teaching. When you are sitting at home at 11 pm on a Friday night marking assignments, who is doing the learning? You are! Your students are sound asleep not learning a thing. Think of ways that you can turn the table so that they are the ones getting the most benefit out of each and every task that they perform. Self-assessment and inquiry-based learning are just a couple of ways to achieve this.
Tell us a few random things about yourself. . . .
I grew up in a small town in Manitoba, Canada. And when I say small, I mean really small. My graduating class consisted of nine students! My husband and I have three amazing children who are the absolute joys of our lives. Life is good!