Holly Dent is this month’s TWC Teacher Feature! She’s been a Walking Classroom adopter for the past two years and during that time we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and hearing about all the wonderful things happening in her classroom. She was featured in our video “TWC from a Teacher’s Perspective” and shares great ideas and resources with us, that we in turn are able to share with you, like having pace cars and cabooses wear t-shirts to make them stand out! As her picture shows, her class is full of smiles and there’s no doubt that they are lucky to be in her class!
1. Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I am a Colorado native. I was born in Grand Junction on the Western Slope. We moved to Westminster (a northern suburb of Denver) when I was 2 years old, and my dad still lives in the house where I grew up.
2. How long have you been teaching, and why did you decide to become a teacher?
I have been teaching for 22 years – 14 years teaching middle school Language Arts and Social Studies, 5 years in 5th grade, and I’m currently teaching 4th grade. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I was always playing school as a child, with me as the teacher and my younger siblings as the students. I remember in second grade we had to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote about becoming a teacher.
3. When have you been your “best self” as a teacher? (In other words, describe a classroom experience when you felt prouder of yourself than any other time) Do not be modest — teachers need to celebrate their accomplishments!!
I live and work in the same community, so I see students when I’m out and about all the time. It is a great feeling when I run into a former student and he or she starts talking about their experience in my class years before. I recently saw a student I had in class about 10 years ago working at the grocery store. He started telling me about all the things he remembered learning in my class, and all the silly little things I do to help kids commit concepts to memory. He told me how much that has helped him in college and he was getting ready to graduate with a degree in business. Sometimes I question whether or not I’m impacting kids, or if I’m even being effective in the classroom, but it’s those random encounters years later that let me know I have made a difference with a kiddo, and that’s what it’s all about!
4. As a teacher, for what are you most grateful?
I could not do my job every day without my amazing teaching team. We help each other, we share ideas, and we have fun and laugh at work every single day. We’re not just colleagues, we are friends. I am so very thankful for their support and their friendship!
5. What are some educational resources that you utilize to help cover the curriculum?
I find many of my resources online. I also have a great network of teacher friends both in and out of my district. Sharing materials, ideas, and lessons is invaluable as we all strive to create the best learning environment possible for our students. Those professional relationships are the best resources available!
6. Please describe an experience that you and/or your students have had with The Walking Classroom.
My favorite experiences with The Walking Classroom happen when students and parents recognize and express what an amazing program this is. The parents in my classroom frequently comment about how much their kids are enjoying walking and learning, and I’ve had parents of students in other classes mention that they wish their students could also participate. But it’s the best when my students themselves tell me how much they love it, and how much it helps them focus and learn.