Meet Walking Classroom Ambassador Kristen Rafferty. Kristen has used The Walking Classroom with fourth graders at Carondelet Catholic School in Minnesota since April of 2018. Ms. Rafferty has worked in education for twelve years, having spent the first two years of her career teaching fourth grade in Kansas City, Missouri, and the remainder teaching third or fourth grade in Minnesota.
What are your memories of yourself when you were the age of your students?
When I was in fourth grade, I loved reading, writing, and playing school. I’d write stories about absolutely anything and would devour books. I would also get really bored in class and doodle menus for my imaginary restaurant on the back of my worksheets.
What led you to become an educator?
From the time I was a little girl, I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. I used to play school all the time and would dream of the day I’d have my own classroom.
All students can learn when the right person believes in them. Therefore, relationships come first, and content comes second.
What is your favorite content area/topic to teach? Why?
I love teaching social studies because I can tie in personal experiences with history and help the subject come alive. There are so many different aspects to social studies that most students can find at least a little part of it with which they can connect.
What is your favorite podcast or Walking Classroom memory and why?
Shortly after receiving the Walking Classroom, we had a wet, rainy day at school, resulting in indoor recess. Instead of sitting around bemoaning the weather, we got out our WalkKits and walked around the school listening to a podcast on the water cycle. I figured if we were going to be stuck indoors, we might as well learn about how the rain was happening in the first place!
Now, I couldn’t imagine my school year without The Walking Classroom. It’s such a great way to give kids the movement breaks we all need without losing out on instructional time.
What is your best teaching memory?
There are so many to choose from! A recent favorite memory was when a student who had been struggling with confidence in math exclaimed at the end of a lesson, “I get it now! I was really good at that math lesson!” It’s always fun to see those light bulbs go off and students’ confidence grow.
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Ask lots of questions both from adults (administrators, fellow teachers, parents) and from students too. You’ll be amazed at what they can teach you. Also, don’t be afraid to try something new! We grow best by pushing our boundaries, just like our students.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I love to cook, bake, read, spend time outside, and hang out with people I care about.
Name something you’d like to cross off your bucket list.
It’s my dream to go to the Olympics as a spectator! Someday it’ll happen. I also want to travel and see as much of the world as possible. I feel like I’m continually planning, or at least dreaming about, a trip.