Today’s Post is an interview style blog with one of our Continuum Coaches, Iyshia Sims. Iyshia taught Early Childhood Education (ECE) and then coached teachers in a school district before joining The Educator Academy the during the Summer of 2020. Check out some of the highlights that Iyshia had to share below!
A note from Iyshia: Many of you reading this may have taken a different route to becoming a teacher than the traditional route. Today, I am writing from my experience as an educator that went the traditional route of becoming a teacher.
What elements of the Residency do you wish you could have had in your teaching preparation experience?
“Going the traditional route of becoming a teacher can feel like an eternity and when you FINALLY get to that last year you put the things you learned into practice. While I did have several practicum experiences along the way, they were very short lived. Even the Student Teaching experience was only 16 weeks long and you don’t even begin at the beginning of the school year! Looking at the Residency model that The Educator Academy has, I truly wish I had the experience of getting my feet wet at the start of the year for A WHOLE YEAR! That’s amazing.
With the traditional route for teacher certification, you enter a classroom that is already established; norms, procedures and routines have already been taught. And you wonder, how did they get to this point? Now if your certification is the same as mine, Early Childhood Education (ECE), you have an even shorter time with your lead teacher. With ECE they break your 16 weeks into 2 eight week placements so that you have the opportunity to experience the very early parts of education (Birth-K) and the later (1st-3rd). Soon after you “get it” (in week 5) you leave soon after and are off to your next placement.”
What would you say to Residents who are nervous about having their own classroom in the fall?
“To those teaching this Fall (or who have already begun) be flexible and give grace (to yourself and others). As teachers, things always change at any second and with today’s world being in a pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be flexible and allow grace because we all are doing the best we can and living in a state of unknown. ”
Any words of encouragement or ideas for self-care that you want to share?
“This year try to incorporate time for yourself. Set realistic goals that you can incorporate into your everyday life. Start small and know that small steps make BIG differences.”
What’s your favorite memory from the classroom?
“As we enter into a new year, I started to reflect on the old years and thought about a time that was my all time favorite memory as a teacher. This memory was a very difficult time for me and my students because we were trying something brand new that none of us (teachers nor students) had ever tried before. We were implementing Project Based Learning (PBL). Before jumping into this endeavor, I thought it would be a GREAT IDEA for me to be a district facilitator around the topic. This was both daunting and rewarding as I was also completing my masters at the same time. I had learned enough to try to successfully implement PBL in my classroom.
For this PBL unit I decided to let the students research Historical African Americans because Black History Month was approaching. We also had just gotten two i-pads for the classroom and two desktops so we were able to incorporate some online research along with our books studies. I gave the students an outline of things they should find out about their chosen person and told them they could present it however they wanted. It was so amazing to see second graders independently researching, taking detailed notes, and creating presentations all on their own.”
“I was so impressed that I invited parents and other staff members in to watch on presentation day. It is a memory I will forever cherish because it showed so much growth in myself as a teacher to truly believe that the student COULD do it. And it showed so much growth in them that they were independent learners and were able to apply things I had taught into their reading, writing, and presentation of the PBL unit.”