Read about one of our stellar teachers: Ashley Moore. She has been at Second Home Child Development Center for three years and is looking forward to being there for her fourth year this upcoming fall. She is one of our Lead Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) Teachers.
“We are a family here and make sure that every child has the opportunity to succeed. We couldn’t do that without our teachers and the endless sacrifices they make,” Michelle Nighbert, Director of the Second Home Child Development Center, said.
Where did you go to college and what inspired you to work in a school setting?
I went to Central Michigan University. I knew I wanted to be a teacher since 2nd grade! I loved my teacher so much and I still remember her to this day. I remember writing a paper in 2nd grade of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote that I wanted to be a teacher! So that’s all I’ve ever planned on. At first, I wanted to teach elementary education, but after working in the early childhood center on campus I fell in love with the preschool-aged group! That’s when I decided to switch my major to early childhood education instead.
Is this your first position in education or have you taught or served elsewhere?
Before Second Home, I taught GSRP at Global Preparatory Academy (a previous Choice school… this September will be my five year anniversary with Choice)! Before that, I worked on an Army base in Kansas and taught Pre-K at an elementary school. Altogether I have been teaching for six years.
What was the deciding factor in choosing to teach at Second Home?
I loved the atmosphere at Second Home from the moment I interviewed! It really does feel like home. I love the freedom each teacher has to make their classroom their own. It is very special to have eight preschool classrooms, all teaching the same curriculum, but taught in so many different ways. We have a very diverse group of teaching styles, but all amazing in their own ways. I really love that about Second Home! I think we are very lucky to have the freedom and flexibility to teach in our own ways.
How do you build a family-like atmosphere in your classroom?
We meet with all of our families before school starts which helps to build that relationship with the parents and students right from the start. When I meet with the families, I have them fill out a questionnaire to get to know their child better. When I know the children’s interests, likes and dislikes, it helps me come up with ways to make them more comfortable. A lot of times the students that come to us have never been in a school setting before, so making them feel comfortable is very important. Once school starts I make sure to greet each child every morning by name and I help them “sign in” (the students write their name when they come in each morning). This gives them a quick one-on-one time with me before the day starts. I have found that when I start the morning with a simple smile and a hug it makes a huge difference in positive behavior. I also have the students bring in family photos that we keep on our family wall the whole school year. The students love going over to the pictures and showing their families off to their friends- and they do it until the last day of school! 🙂
What’s your secret ingredient in your classroom? What techniques do you use that students really gravitate toward?
My secret ingredient in my classroom is consistency and organization. I feel that sticking to a consistent schedule and keeping the classroom organized really helps the children feel safe and secure. I have our daily schedule posted horizontally across the wall at the children’s level and I teach them how to follow along. That way they can independently check and know what comes next for each part of the day. I really try to encourage independence in the classroom by giving them the means to do so. Also, staying organized helps me feel relaxed, so I’d like to think it helps the children relax too.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is watching the students explore new ideas and soak everything up. I love watching them progress throughout the year. I love comparing where they started off the year academically and how much they have grown and improved by the end of the year. Our program’s goal is to get the students ready for Kindergarten so the best feeling is when the students leave us and are prepared! Knowing I helped start their journey to a successful education is priceless.
How would a student best describe you?
I think the students would describe me as fun, helpful and loving.
What would your colleagues say about you?
I think they would say that I’m organized, compassionate and collaborative.