The Lebanon Democrat is in the process of running question-and-answer profiles of the Wilson County educators who have been selected as the teacher of the year in their respective schools.
Those individuals, from the Wilson County School System and the Lebanon Special School District (in addition to two of the county’s private schools), are in contention for the Wilson County Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced later this spring.
The series of profiles continues with a glance at Emily Perry, a second-grade teacher at Mt. Juliet’s Lakeview Elementary School ...
Name … Emily Perry
School … Lakeview Elementary
Age … 37
What grade/subject do you teach? I teach second grade and have a self-contained classroom.
How long have you been in education? Nine years
How many years have you taught at your current school? Four years
What other schools have you taught at prior to your current school? Harrison Elementary
What is something unique about you — whether it’s a hobby, skill or past accomplishment — that most people likely wouldn’t be aware of? I grew up on a dairy farm.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time (hobbies, etc.)? I enjoy hiking, travel, reading, and going to sporting events.
Is there anything unique about your teaching situation that you’d like to detail? For three of my four years at Lakeview, I have had inclusion classes, including many students with IEPs (individualized education programs) and behavior issues.
How would you describe your teaching style? My teaching style is built on strong relationships with my students, holding students to high expectations, and presenting information in a variety of ways.
Could you share a couple of strategies for how that you keep students engaged and motivated? First and foremost, I believe in building a strong relationship with my students. Due to the strong relationships, I am able to motivate my students using what I know they love. I also keep the students in my classroom moving and active to increase engagement.
What is different, unique and/or enjoyable about the school that you are currently teaching at? We have amazing students and families at Lakeview. I have enjoyed getting to know the families and having multiple children from the same family come through my classroom.
Why did you choose teaching as a career path? I have loved working with children from a young age (even when I was basically a child myself). I love teaching them and watching the light bulb go off as they finally grasp a concept.
What is the most fulfilling part of teaching? It’s watching how far the students come from the beginning to the end of the year. Then, (it’s) seeing those same students succeeding in upper grades and knowing you had a hand in that success.
What is the most challenging part of teaching? The most challenging part of teaching is that there is just one of me, and it is hard to help everyone in my class on my own.
How has your view of teaching changed since you first embarked on your teaching career? I am able to see a larger picture with my students now. I can see what they need most, and sometimes, that isn’t to learn how to subtract.
How have you seen the profession change over the course of your career, and how do you see it continuing to evolve going forward? This profession is so focused on data and testing now, much more than it was nine years ago when I started. I hope if moves back away from testing, especially in second grade.
If there was any one variable that you could control or enhance to help with the educational process, what would that be and why? I would get rid of the pressure of testing on young students and teachers.
Who is somebody who has been especially impactful in your teaching career, and why did he/she make such an impact on you? Norma Faerber was my first principal when I taught in Hamilton County. She empowered me as a young teacher and helped me build my confidence as a teacher.
Could you share what has been one of your most memorable moments in teaching? Multiplication and division are the overarching math skill in third grade. When I taught third grade at another school, I had a student who struggled with division for several weeks. Finally one day he said, “Oh, I get it. Division is just like multiplication but backwards.” This was a connection I had taught several times throughout those weeks. He reminded me with that statement that everyone learns at a different pace and how important repeated exposure of a skill is for some students.
What is the most meaningful thing a student could say to you? It’s just seeing a student light up when they see (learn) is more meaningful than words.
How would you ideally like to be characterized or remembered as a teacher? It would be as caring but with high expectations.
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