Alexandra Dalton

Dalton

GMS TEACHER OF THE YEAR: ALEXANDRA DALTON

Question:
What would you say your best teaching strategy is?

Answer:
I'm not sure how best to say this, but making what I teach relevant to my students, or letting them lead class discussions on things they are interested in or are unsure of, especially if it is within the topic we are discussing. Children are naturally curious, and my job as a teacher is to encourage that curiosity and help them find ways to solve their curious questions.

Question:
What do you teach? 

Answer:
I teach 6th grade Earth Science.

Question: Have you always taught that?

Answer:
I have not always taught Earth Science or 6th graders. My first two years teaching I was at Enota Elementary School teaching 5th grade. My first year I taught all subjects and the following year I was partnered with Mrs. Mathes and I taught math and science. I moved to GMS the following year and once again taught math and science. (That was a challenge, but my partner teacher (a first year teacher) and I somehow managed!) I have been solely teaching Earth Science ever since and have loved it!

Question: Why is this what you wanted to teach? 

Answer: I have always loved school. I have also been extremely blessed to have some amazing science teachers that let my class ask questions and then create potential solutions to those problems. Now that I think about it, science and math were definitely my favorite subjects in school. (Followed very closely by social studies...English was NOT my strong suit.) I was led to teaching science because it is a fun class, and I noticed that many people did not have a love for it like I do. Once I spoke with them I realized why, they did not have "fun" science classes. Their classes were more read the textbook and answer the questions at the end of the chapter. I want to teach science so that I can hopefully teach my students to love science.

Question: What led you to teach this age group? 

Answer: Funny story to this one actually. When I began my journey into becoming an educator I very clearly stated to many of my friends that kindergarten and middle school teachers have a special place in heaven because those are the most difficult arenas to teach in. Then, I worked with middle schoolers that first summer in the education program (teaching science) and LOVED IT! After that experience I ate my words and started working on making sure I got certified to teach middle schoolers. When I was at Enota with the amazing fifth graders I enjoyed my time, but something felt off. When I moved to GMS and started working with middle schoolers that off feeling disappeared and I haven't looked back!

Question:
Funny story to this one actually. When I began my journey into becoming an educator I very clearly stated to many of my friends that kindergarten and middle school teachers have a special place in heaven because those are the most difficult arenas to teach in. Then, I worked with middle schoolers that first summer in the education program (teaching science) and LOVED IT! After that experience I ate my words and started working on making sure I got certified to teach middle schoolers. When I was at Enota with the amazing fifth graders I enjoyed my time, but something felt off. When I moved to GMS and started working with middle schoolers that off feeling disappeared and I haven't looked back!

Question:
What do you feel is the most important thing in your classroom and why? 

Answer:
The most important thing to have in my classroom is my students! Without them, I can't do what I love to do and that is teach. I can do without almost everything else, but without kids...it doesn't work. While all the other things in the room may make life easier (technology, desks, chairs, paper, etc.) they are not necessary for learning to occur.

Question: What is your favorite thing about teaching? 

Answer:
This may sound cheesy but I love it when my students get excited about what they are learning. When they make a connection to their lives, when they see the importance of what we are talking about, or when they say how much fun they are having while they are learning are all moments that I wish I could freeze in time.

Question: What makes your school special? 

Answer: My school is special because we as teachers have each others backs. We work together to do what is best for our students. While we are far from perfect, no school is if we're honest, we are at least learning from our mistakes and making changes so that we can be better. As a teacher, that is all I can ask for from my school. Let's do better.

Question: 2020-2021 was a year like no one has ever experienced, with many challenges and yet, you were selected as the Teacher of the Year. What do you think was a differentiator for you and your classroom especially in the wake of COVID? 

Answer: The thing that I believe set me apart from my other amazing colleagues for the 2020-2021 school year was that I was not only teaching students in my classroom, but I was also teaching science virtually. It was a steep learning curve, and my other teammates and I struggled to find balance with everything else going on, but we somehow managed. The 2020-2021 school year also challenged many teachers that are not necessarily savvy with technology, and I happen to understand technology enough to help others out. I was willing to help in any way I could, and also simplify things for teachers that needed a simpler way of teaching virtually.

Question:
What is the best way for parents to support our teacher's?

Answer: Parents can show their support of teachers by simply keeping up with how their child is doing in school. It is much easier for parents to keep an eye on their child than for teachers to continually be on the watch for grades slipping. If a parent notices something an notifies the teacher, then the issue can be resolved much sooner and usually with less stress involved. They don't say "it takes a village" for nothing!

Question: How can students show their appreciation? 

Answer: Jokingly, they can feed me. I love food! Haha! In all honesty and seriousness though, students can show their appreciation by just doing their best in my class. Everyone is not an A student, and there is nothing wrong with that. I just want students to try in my class, to be willing to be wrong, and then learn from their mistakes.











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