Meet Walking Classroom Ambassador Trecia Shales. Trecia teaches fifth and sixth grade ESL students with all native languages other than Spanish. She has worked in education for 13 years, and she has been using The Walking Classroom for two years.
What are your memories of yourself when you were your students’ age?
I loved school, and I was a teacher-pleaser.
What led you to become an educator?
I had a retail store and taught art classes for children and adults for years. After my four biological children were grown, and my youngest was in middle school, I went back for my Masters in Education. Shortly after beginning my Masters, we became foster parents and ended up adopting two more children!
Share your educational philosophy in one to three sentences.
I believe that school should be fun and that there are always ways we can cover the curriculum to increase engagement. I also believe that all children can learn, but that children learn best in different ways. Mostly, I know that a child is so much more than a test score.
What is your favorite content area/topic to teach? Why?
That’s a hard one. I think it depends on the year and on my class. So much of my enjoyment depends on how engaged my students are. Some years, I have a very engaged group of math “brains”, so that is my favorite. Last year, I had eighteen boys and only four girls, so we were very focused on science and hands-on activities. And that was fun too. I learn new things from each class each year.
What is your favorite podcast or Walking Classroom memory and why?
I have lots of favorite podcasts, but one of my favorite memories was the long-lasting effect of listening to the “Deserts” podcast. Many times during the year, a student would remind us that, “There is only 1 ‘s’ in ‘desert’, but 2 s’s in ‘dessert’”!
What is your best teaching memory?
Wow. The first year I taught ESL, I had very little confidence. I had been RIF’d and landed in an ESL classroom at a new school with a principal who made my life more than difficult. It wasn’t until I met up with one of my students from that year much later, and he told me what a difference I had made for him, that I realized I had landed where I was meant to be.
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Let your students fall in love with you. If you do, they will do whatever they can to make you happy and behaviors will be better. Also, remember that they are children. They like to play. Give them extra recess every now and then. Take time to let them talk about what is happening in their lives. Know that (regardless of what you are told), education is not a race and a child is not a number or a test score.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to look for new ideas for teaching on the internet. I also love to spend time with my kids and grandkids.
Name something you’d like to cross off your bucket list.
I would like to be a published author.