Meet Walking Classroom Ambassador Toni Armijo. Toni has used The Walking Classroom with seventh graders at Belen Middle School in New Mexico. This year, while she will be teaching first grade, she will be mentoring new adopters of the program. She has worked in education for 17 years, and is starting her second year with The Walking Classroom.
What are your memories of yourself when you were that age?
I absolutely loved my teacher. Her favorite color was red and would always wear red blazers with turquoise jewelry. I remember her always giving the biggest hugs.
What led you to become an educator?
My first grade teacher, Ms. Mildred Holmes, inspired me at an early age. I have always known in my heart that I would be a teacher. I want to instill the same love for learning that my teacher did for me into my students.
Share your educational philosophy in one to three sentences.
My teaching philosophy is student-centered and I believe in providing students with many hands-on experiences in all subject areas. I am a firm believer that not all students can be taught the same way and it is my job to reach every one of my students in a way that best suits their needs.
What is your favorite content area/topic to teach? Why?
This is such a tough question! I enjoy teaching them all. But, I can say that ELA is something that I enjoy teaching because I can integrate each content area into my ELA block.
What is your favorite podcast or Walking Classroom memory and why?
I don’t have a favorite memory because every time my students use The Walking Classroom is a good one! My students would come in ready to get started with their podcast. Their motivation and excitement was contagious! Then the rich discussion we had afterward was just priceless!
What is your best teaching memory?
I have so many wonderful teaching memories. However, the one that stands out happened when I taught first grade a few years back. I had a student who was struggling in his reading, so I sat down with my student, and for the first time, he finished his small reader. I hugged him, and he was beaming with the biggest smile.
Then I announced to the class that our classmate read his entire book on his own. The class started cheering and every single student went up and hugged this little guy. On that day, reading became such a huge celebration in our classroom. But most importantly, my little student who struggled became one of my best readers!
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
My advice that I would give to a new teacher is this, that it is okay to fail. It may be a lesson that went wrong, a classroom management system that needs to be changed, it is okay! We have all have had failures in our teaching. All of my failures have made me a stronger teacher for my students. Ask questions, learn the “why” in that failure, and you will make such a huge difference in your teaching!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Having four kids, ages 17, 15, 11 and 8, I don’t have very much free time. You can find my husband and I cheering on our kiddos on the football field, track field, and concert hall. You name it, we have been there! BUT, on the off chance I do have spare time, I enjoy reading a book that is not education-related!
Name something you’d like to cross off your bucket list.
I would LOVE to go camping by the ocean! That would be the most amazing thing.