I had the opportunity to interview, Mrs. Bernice Sapp about her life as a teacher. Mrs. Sapp has been teaching for forty years, and she stated that she loves her job, more and more, each day. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Paine College. She has taught in the Burke county school system, and she currently teaches at CSRA Head Start program. She is the head pre-k teacher. Mrs. Sapp motivation for teaching came from her having a big family. With bring the oldest of twelve siblings, she was around children all day and decided to try teaching, to see if she would like it, and she did like, in fact she loved it.
Teaching became her life from then on. I asked her what surprised her about teaching. She identified that nothing surprised her, because of new trends each and every year, and life moves forward not backwards. She also expressed that was one of the best parts of teaching along with seeing young people grow and how they grow, and the things they learn in life. She faced many challenges as a teacher. She specified her biggest challenged was her first year as a teacher, because she was coming into the unknown. She stated that, she had to learn, through teaching, what early childhood development was.
Of course she no longer faces that challenge. Mrs. Sapp believes now that if it can be teach, she can teach it. Mrs. Sapp indicated that the most important function as a teacher would be to nurture and provide her children with all the previsions that it takes to learn. She also explained that when one takes care of the most important things in teaching that one will begin to see all the rewards that teaching brings. Her greatest rewards would be the enjoyment to see young people grow, and to see them succeed in their early years. Mrs.
Sapp strategies to maximize instructional time were to plan according to ages and stages of development. She always had all her materials together for various activities that she had for her students. She proclaimed that it only takes her about twenty minutes to prepared each day’s lesson plan. She describe that for a new, inexperienced, teacher that it would take much longer. She stated that the teacher would have to get to know what type of students he or she might have, and what works or does not work for that particular class.
She explained that planning is skill that takes time to master and one may not master that skill in their first year of teaching, it may take many years to master the art of planning for a class. I asked Mrs. Sapp how and when she interacts with parents. She described that each parent is required to do three things in the Head Start program. Parents have to attend one parent-teacher conference, do volunteer hours, and consent to two home visits. During the parent-teacher conferences and the home visits is where she tells the parents about their child’s progress.
She praises the student’s strengths and, along with the parents, come up with plans to improve on the student’s weakness. She remarked that most of the time, with the help of the parents, the student does indeed improve. Parent involvement would be the most important issue that Mrs. Sapp has with today’s education. She stated that when parents stay involve, that students do well in school. When parents do not stay involve that when students have developmental issues in school and the teacher had to work harder to help that student progress. She explained that parent involvement is at an all-time low.
Without the parents help that many young students will not succeed in school. The best advice Mrs. Sapp gave for a new teacher was to make sure that, one keeps in open mind. She also expressed that one should have loads of hand on training, such as observation, volunteering, and student-teaching programs. I took all of what Mrs. Sapp said to me and soaked it up like a sponge. I now know that one of the keys to becoming a successful teacher is to have great planning skills. Coming up with a good plan before I walk into a classroom will be my biggest tools used for educating my future students.