Meet Walking Classroom Ambassador Caitlin Watson. Mrs. Watson uses The Walking Classroom with fourth graders at Diamond View Elementary in Florida. She has worked in education for eight years, and is starting her second year with The Walking Classroom.
What are your memories of yourself when you were the age of your students?
I was extremely high energy and on the move all the time (I’m the same way today!). I was very creative and loved to read. As I was an Army brat, I enjoyed meeting new people and experiencing new things every location we moved. I was just always trying to absorb as much life as possible!
What led you to become an educator?
I love kids. Plain and simple. I wanted a job where I could help them in a time that they really needed someone and I found that education allowed me to do that.
Every child has the capacity and the desire to learn if they are given the tools they need to succeed. Every child has something inside of them that the world needs. Mistakes should be celebrated and progress is always better than perfection.
What is your favorite content area/topic to teach? Why?
I love teaching reading. It allows you to visit other worlds, other cultures, and explore other places all from your seat! I love giving students that passport just by giving them a book.
What is your favorite podcast or Walking Classroom memory and why?
I loved the podcast on Maya Angelou (Complete-#37, 4-#17). I teach at a Title I school where the majority of my students have gone through a lot of adversity and they really connected with her story.
We were also doing a poetry unit that they were really struggling with, and after listening to that podcast and having group discussion, the kids were so engaged and seemed to really start to understand the unit more.
What is your best teaching memory?
It’s hard to pick just one. This job may not pay you a lot, but you become rich in these moments. The most recent one comes from the musical I put on this year. We had never had a musical club and this was our school’s first production. The kids worked so hard and did so amazing!
At the end of the performance, a family member of one of my students came to me in tears thanking me and telling me how much this had impacted this child’s life in a positive way. I will never forget that.
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are literally building the plane while you are flying it. We have all been there and you are doing great.
Also, find your tribe. Don’t surround yourself with negativity; search for the positivity.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to exercise and cook (I know; it seems counterintuitive!).
Name something you’d like to cross off your bucket list.
I would love to go to Italy and see where my family is from, see the Vatican, and eat a TON of pasta.