I had the privilege of working with 7 teachers this past semester, most of whom were hired under the MT Office Of Public Instruction’s approval for Emergency Authorization of Employment. According to Administrative Rule 10.57.107 “ district administrators who have exhausted all possibilities for hiring a licensed teacher may request that the Superintendent of Public Instruction issue an emergency authorization of employment to the district to employ a person to teach.”
The teachers and I met at least 4 times during the semester to share successes, concerns, and bounce ideas off one another. Not only did these 7 young professionals navigate the first half of their first year of teaching successfully, 6 of them also completed their university coursework and graduated with their bachelor degrees. This only highlighted the passion and commitment these teachers have for education and their students because they were doing two full-time jobs simultaneously. As I came to know and connect with these lovely people, I came to realize and can strongly attest that GFPS is very lucky to have found and hired these seven. The district and its children are fortunate to have such intelligent, aware, and hard working teachers in the classroom everyday.
When I asked each new teacher to explain why they became a teacher, they responded as follows:
Aubrey:“to be a positive example and inspire students to be creative”
Hannah: “ I became a teacher to make learning fun and let students know they have a home.”
Andrea: “Because I have worked in the school system for 10 years and I love working with teachers and teaching students.”
Carissa: “My original degree is in Geological Engineering and I worked as a geologist in the oil and gas industry for 2 years. After leaving my job, I worked as a substitute teacher and fell in love. Spending time in a classroom became my favorite place to be and I realized how much I loved teaching children. Children are always so positive and always have a unique outlook on life.”
Adam:”A big part of the job is getting to know people and building relationships. I love getting to know my students.”
Emmalee: “To help share my love of learning and be a part of the future generations”
Nichol: “I enjoy working with young children because every day I am impacted by their natural ability to learn. I can use my knowledge and experience to positively direct their learning journey.”
Teaching is challenging- from planning units and daily lessons; learning all the required technology, curricula, ins and outs of procedures and policies; finding classroom management strategies that work for all, meeting the needs of the students AND their parents, to organizing to keep it all together. A great percentage of these “prep” tasks are done outside a teacher’s duty day. All of these teachers would say it is worth it albeit overwhelming. These teachers have looked to and appreciated the support Great Falls Public Schools has provided them by working with instructional coaches, asking peers, school staff, and principals for help, and using the resources given to teach. All 7 of these teachers have proven to be dedicated learners of their craft and robust, compassionate educators.
As a celebration and summary to our semester together, I asked each teacher to complete this simile: Public Education is to _____________as ____________is to___________.
You will be in awe of their statements. How would you complete the simile?
Aubrey:“Public Education is to humanity as paint is to Bob Ross.”(The tools and supplies needed to make the world progress/move forward)
Hannah: “ Public Education is to society as wings are to birds.” (Without education, we cannot be the best members of society. Education lifts us up just like wings on a bird.)
Andrea: “Public Education is to a teacher as family is to parents.”
Carissa: “Public Education is to freedom as knowledge is to self-actualization.” (Education gives you the freedom to choose your life. Self-actualization cannot be achieved without knowledge.
Adam:”Public Education is to the community as fertile soil is to a forest.” (The trees need soil to grow while older trees make the soil more rich to help new trees grow.)
Emmalie: “Public Education is to the community as ranch (dressing) is to pizza.” (Not all may agree that public education is a community effort as those who may not think ranch goes on pizza.)
Nichol: “Public education is to opportunity as knowledge is to success.” (Public education provides everyone, without discrimination, the opportunity to gain necessary knowledge needed to successfully pursue their chosen path in life.)
By Shelly Kelly