We are so thankful for our teachers. They give love, attention and acceptance to all kids. They see the potential in every child and sacrifice their needs for the needs of their students.  

“We are a family here and we make sure that every child has the opportunity to succeed. We couldn’t do that without our teachers and the outpouring of love they give every single day,” Michelle Nighbert, Director of the Second Home Child Development Center, said. 

Read about one of our stellar teachers: Deb Giddey. She has been at MMA/Second Home Child Development Center for five years and is looking forward to being there for her sixth year this fall. She is one of our Lead Great Start Readiness Program Teachers.

Where did you go to college?

I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Early Childhood from Rochester College in New York. Then I graduated with my Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Oakland University.

What inspired you to work in a school setting? 

I love working in a school setting because I love being the first teacher that students get. I love to watch them grow in their learning and throughout their elementary school years. At Second Home and Macomb Montessori Academy (MMA), are one in the same but with a different name. We all work together with each child. I love seeing my former students that are in 4th grade now and how grown up they are.

What was the deciding factor in choosing to teach at MMA/Second Home?

I love the Montessori approach to the classroom. That is why I chose both MMA and Second Home. It teaches to them life skills that they will need to use in their life at a young age. But everything that you have in your classroom has a purpose. It teaches them that their classroom is theirs, not mine.  

How do you build a family-like atmosphere in your classroom?

I tell the children that we are like a family and that we are here all day together and the classroom is their own. We work, learn, and play together. Being a family means that we have some good days and that we have some bad days. We may have some awful days too. We talk things out as things arise and all grow in the process.

What’s your secret ingredient in your classroom? What techniques do you use that students really gravitate toward? 

Engaging the students at their level: meeting them where they need it both socially and academically is my key classroom ingredient. I make learning fun and engaging. The students all know the rules and I remain consistent on this each and every day.

What is your favorite part of teaching? 

My favorite part of teaching is seeing the students learn something new. They are learning each and every day. It may be something small or something big like recognizing 10 Letter Sounds. But I just love to see their faces brighten up with a smile – that “I DID It!!!” moment.

How would a student best describe you?

A student would describe me as someone who loves them. They would also say that I am a happy and funny teacher who loves music and makes learning fun.  

What would your colleagues say about you? 

I think that they would say I am a positive and encouraging teacher. That I am always available for help and will provide encouragement at any given moment.  Also, they can see that I have a passion for my students and for mentoring my colleagues.