This is the first part of a series of two Question and Answer sessions. In the first session, Katie Foulds, one of Aberdeen High School’s newest teachers, answers questions about her background and views as an educator. She is 25 years old and was raised in Hoquiam. In the second series, William Carter, who entered retirement this year from Aberdeen High School answers essentially the same questions, some have which have been modified to be relevant for his retired status.
What college or University did you attend? What was your major? What advanced degrees do you have?
I attended Grays Harbor College before transferring to Saint Martin’s University. My major is in Elementary Education/Mathematics.
What subject do you teach?
I teach Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry.
How long have you been teaching?
I taught in Montesano in the fall of 2010 for my student teaching. After I completed my student teaching I was a substitute for a year and a half.
How long have you been teaching at Aberdeen?
This is my first year teaching at Aberdeen High School. Go Bobcats!
Why did you become a teacher?
I became a teacher because I want to make a difference in the lives of students and also make an impact on the future generations. I think that this profession provides you the ability to be a lifelong learner which is what I strive to be.
Is it meeting your expectations?
Finally, being a teacher is exceeding my expectations. I find myself leaving school every day thinking that it is amazing that I get paid to do this.
Do you have a guiding philosophy about education, if so, what is it?
My guiding philosophy about education is to promote positive learning, spark enthusiasm in each learner and provide a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Students really look up to teachers because in many cases, they often see their teachers more than their own parents. It is important to be a good role model and guide students in the direction of their own dreams.
How do you think your philosophy will change over time?
I think my philosophy will change over time with the more experience I have and more knowledge of education. I believe that the advancement of technology is leading us in a new direction of education.
What do you like most about teaching?
The thing that I like most about teaching is that it is a new experience every day and that I am constantly learning. I enjoy the ability to make connections with staff and students while gaining my own knowledge of life and education.
What makes a good/effective teacher?
I believe that a good and effective teacher is someone who knows how to correctly balance the classroom environment while encouraging the engagement of the students.
What makes a bad/ineffective teacher?
A bad and ineffective teacher is someone who negatively influences the classroom community and does not understand what motivates students to learn.
What is the hardest part of the job? How do you handle that?
The hardest part of the job is realizing that due to large class sizes and limited time, you cannot always reach the needs of each individual student. I handle this situation by being accessible to students to give individualized help before and after school.
What is the best part of the job?
The best part of the job is when students learn new things and are so happy and expressive about it. They walk out of my room saying, “Ms. Foulds, I learned a lot today!” and have a smile on their face. It is amazing what that little gesture does to your day and makes you realize how rewarding my career choice is.
What is something people outside education don’t realize about being a teacher?
Something that people outside of education do not realize about being a teacher is that it is not just a career, it is a lifestyle. Whether you are getting a gallon of milk at the grocery store or attending a doctor’s appointment, you are constantly recognized and held to a higher standard.
How do you think your approach as a teacher will change over time?
I think that my approach as a teacher will change over time as I expand my knowledge and overcome obstacles with the experience of being in the classroom each and every day.
How do you get a student to excel?
I think it is important to build a student’s confidence by beginning at a level in which they can succeed. Once you build up their confidence level, they begin to challenge themselves and continue to grow.
How do you reach problem students?
I reach problem students by providing and supporting a positive learning environment. Problem students do not always have a lot of support outside of school, but if you show interest and concern for their education while making it relevant to their own lives they begin to take part in the classroom.
How do you think dealing with students will change over time?
I think that dealing with students will change over time as we become a more technologically dependent society.
What characterizes good classroom management and how do you establish it?
Good classroom management is established with clear expectations from the beginning of school and being very consistent throughout the year. It is important that you maintain a focused environment from the minute the students walk in until the bell rings.
Why did you choose to teach at Grays Harbor?
I chose to teach in Grays Harbor because this is where I was raised and I wanted to once again be a part of this community. Also, my family lives in Grays Harbor and I chose to be close to them because they are so supportive of my life and my career.
Many teachers today say they have to be social workers, counselors and even sometimes the police every day before they can even start being a teacher. Can you explain this and do you agree?
As a teacher we are faced every day with new challenges that really have nothing to do with education, but in order for us to teach, we must first sift through the issues before the students will open up and learn.
What is the biggest problem in our schools today?
I think that the biggest problem in our schools today is the lack of parent involvement and support in student learning. In order for education to be successful, it must start at home at an early age and continue throughout a student’s school years.
What is the best thing?
The best thing in our schools today is the ability to reach individual students needs by incorporating the advancement of technology into the everyday classroom.
What are the education problems specific to the Harbor?
The Harbor has many education problems, but they are not any different than other areas. We are all faced with the challenges of budget cuts, large class sizes, limited supplies and lack of resources.
What do you feel about standards-based testing?
Standards-based testing is important, but should not dictate the education system. There are many other factors besides standards-based testing that should determine the success of a student.
How do we raise test scores?
I think that individualizing education through the advancement of technology will help us meet the basic needs of each student which will lead to test scores to be raised.
Any words for a retired teacher?
I’m jealous. I wish I could have the knowledge that you have gained throughout your years of teaching to help me be successful in the beginning years of my career.