Meet Walking Classroom Ambassador Susan Isner. Mrs. Isner uses The Walking Classroom with her fourth grade ELA and social studies students at North Elementary in Elkins, West Virginia. Having worked in education for 25 years, Mrs. Isner is starting her second year with The Walking Classroom.
What are your memories of yourself when you were the age of your students?
I recall being in class with some of my friends that I am still in touch with today. I consider that a blessing! Thanks to social media, I can keep up with them and their lives no matter where they are.
I also remember my teachers, school secretary, principals, and even the cooks, as being the most kind and generous people whom I looked up to as my heroes.
What led you to become an educator?
It was a field that I was naturally drawn towards, as I have always loved kids. I worked as a babysitter as a teenager. Once I enrolled in elementary education classes in college, I never looked back or had second thoughts of another career choice.
In today’s ever-changing world, students deserve to have an educator who can adapt to their social well-being and academic needs. I strongly agree that students will perform better if they feel positive about themselves and take ownership of their learning.
What is your favorite content area/topic to teach? Why?
Reading is my favorite subject. I love teaching students to read with expression using Reader’s Theater plays and by reading aloud to them myself as often as I can.
What is your favorite podcast or Walking Classroom memory and why?
A parent once asked me (during our first year of adopting The Walking Classroom), “What is this walking thing you are doing?” She went on to explain that her son had made it very clear to her that he did not want to be picked up early on Thursdays because he would be walking. I was happy to explain the program and even happier to know how much the student enjoyed it.
What is your best teaching memory?
Being an educator comes with ups and downs like most careers, but teaching is so rewarding. It constantly drives me to be a better person in the classroom.
My favorite memories are when I see former students out in public, and they stop and update me on their lives. It is such a proud moment for them and for me too! Not only do the students hold a special place in my heart, but their parents do as well. Some of them have gone out of their way to send me a card or note to let me know how their child is doing.
I began a collection box years ago and it includes pictures, cards, notes, etc. from former students and parents. When I’m having a bad day, all I have to do is get out the box and look through its contents. It serves as a reminder for me to keep moving forward because what I am doing is making an impact and is worthwhile.
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Embrace the good and not-so-good moments. One of my favorite quotes by Michael Jordan is, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love shopping for a good bargain! As a proud mom of three children and Nana to two grandchildren, spending time with them and my husband puts me in my happy place. In addition, I like primitive crafts and using my Cricut craft cutter to create personalized items with vinyl.
Name something you’d like to cross off your bucket list.
Professionally, I am beginning the journey of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. Personally, I wouldn’t mind visiting Australia!