Touching minds, heartsPublished 11:00pm Tuesday, May 7, 2013
First-year teachers reflect as the school year comes to a close
Not every teacher has the same story.
This is Heather Bunn’s first year in her teaching career, but her 14 first-graders weren’t her first children.
“I’m not your typical first-year teacher,” Bunn smiled as she sat among her class at lunch on Tuesday. “I was a stay at home mom for a few years.”
Bunn has three children, Perry, 15; Jonathan, 10; and Luke, 8.
She had already received a degree in education, but had never taught before renewing her license and beginning at Troy Elementary School this year.
“I feel like I am in a very fortunate position as a first-year teacher because my children went to school here,” Bunn said. “I knew the routine, the teachers.”
Bunn even had the opportunity to volunteer in Luke’s first-grade classroom.
“That’s how I knew I would love first-grade,” Bun shared. “And I do. I feel like they are mine and I love hearing about their ballgames and other things. It will be sad to see my first class go, but it will be so exciting to see what they do next year.”
Bunn said one of the challenges of first-grade has been the amount of material students need to cover in order to be successful in second-grade.
But even with all of the schoolwork, Bunn said she thinks it’s important to encourage the children to follow their dreams and reach goals.
“We talk about that all the time,” Bunn said. “We have aspiring astronauts, doctors, lawyers and even a professional wrestler in the class. It’s important that we help them build toward their goals, no matter what they might be.”
Bunn said she feels as if she had an easier first year than most because of other teachers at TES, including her school mentor Kristi Lewis and fellow teacher Patrice Wadsden.
“Before I even anticipate a need, someone comes forward with help or suggestions,” Bunn said. “We collaborate as teachers. That’s very nice.”
Although there’s much Bunn loves about being a teacher, the children are at the top of the list.
“Their little personalities are just incredible,” Bunn said. “I can just have had a difficult day and one of them will sit down with me at lunch and say, ‘Mrs. Bunn, I’m going to sing you a song.’ I feel like they give me as much, if not more, than I am able to give them.”
And Bunn said, even when her first class has moved on, she’ll be excited to see them. Until then, she’s got plenty of tokens to remember them by.
“My bulletin board and my drawer are full of hearts they’ve cut out and cards they’ve made for me,” Bunn said. “It’s wonderful to know they love me, too.”
Megan Henderson is also a first-year teacher and fresh out of college.
“I have wanted to be a teacher since I was little,” Henderson shared. “I’ve always played teacher. It was just always in my heart. I felt like I was born to do it.”
Henderson teaches 16 third-graders at Banks Elementary School and is loving every second of it, she said.
“They are sweet and kind. They are still at that age where they are kind of babies, but they are also growing and maturing and learning responsibility,” Henderson said. “The things they come up with make my day.”
Henderson said she tries to imagine what her first-year class will be like as they grow.
“I try to picture what they will be like. I always tell them to set their goals high,” Henderson said. “They all try to do their best and I push them on that and try to encourage them. I always try to picture who they will be and what kind of job they will have.”
Henderson said she feels like her first-year as a teacher went very well and she said her Banks School family has been extremely supportive.
As her first year as a teacher winds down, Henderson is coming up on her one-year marriage anniversary. She said she doesn’t have children of her own, yet, but she quickly fell in love with her 16 school children.
“Sometimes it can be hard to wake up in the morning, but when I get there and see their faces, it makes it all worth it,” Henderson said. “They make me excited. They melt my heart. I’m a little sad because it is the end of the year and I am going to miss them.”