Hello, Fellow TED 633’s
Who Am I and Why Do I Teach?
My name is Sue Kisla Kay and I am working on my Single Subject Certification in Mathematics although I hold both Multiple Subject and Single Subject English credentials. Life takes many twists and turns, and alas, now I am exponentially expanding my horizons (yes, pun intended).
I am currently teaching Math 7 in the Antelope Valley. Before teaching full-time in the classroom, I was a Theatre Teacher for Grades PreK-6 for various elementary schools located in the Santa Clarita. After receiving my teaching credentials, I taught Grade 8 Honors English and Grade 8 Mathematics at a Charter School in Palmdale, CA. Now I am working full-time teaching math for Grade 7 in Lancaster, CA.
Before teaching, I worked for a computer software company, starting as a phone-answering consultant until I was promoted several times, ten years later becoming Director of New Business Development (having survived numerous bosses, acquisitions, company restructures and mergers). It was an exciting decade of traveling the world and working with diverse peoples from different countries, companies and departments.
But for long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I took the CBEST in the early 90’s while I was working the corporate job, somehow knowing I would day teach; in fact, my mentor boss always told me that I had “missed my calling” to become a teacher. I taught music to children via Vacation Bible School during high school and was a swimming coach and instructor during college. I always enjoyed teaching, especially when I became a mother with three kids of my own, and started coaching sports, teaching taekwondo and assisting in my children’s classrooms.
And now: here I am in the teaching profession!
The KISA Personality Test: ENTP:
Renaissance Woman, the Jack-of-All-Trades, yet Master of None. I see why I teetered back and forth when deciding whether to pursue Single Subject English (I love delving deep into literary works: I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s of English Literature) or Multiple Subject. . . or now math (because I will always memorize your license plate number before your first name). I like, and am interested in EVERYTHING, have very diverse and broad interests. I can see myself switching back and forth between lower and upper grades. I would teach everything to everyone if I could.
My Personality and Relationships with Students
I am curious, energetic, imaginative, creative, enthusiastic, compassionate, genuine and caring. These personal qualities are attributes which I like to bring into my classroom environment for learning.
I personally stand at the door and welcome students in to my classroom, and ask that they enter with a positive “can-do” attitude. I am growth-oriented and flexible, and believe in inspiring people to motivate themselves intrinsically versus relying solely upon a mundane system of punishment and rewards. I like to set and achieve goals, both personally and for my students. In tracking goals and surrounding myself and my students in a supportive environment, we “stack” smaller goals, and see steadily progress towards achieving the larger.
I am open-minded and empathetic, supportive, constructive and enjoy sharing and developing ideas with others. I seek to inspire colleagues and students by working collaboratively, interacting with one another during brainstorming or learning, and in acknowledging people for their talents and ideas they offer. I believe that everyone brings their own experiences and expertise to the shared learning of the classroom, and that we all can learn from one another. I welcome, encourage and support responses from everyone.
Most of all, I believe in relationships and establishing rapport. To me, people want to know that I care (versus care what I know).
Learning Styles: Highly Visual and Intuitive.
My results of the NC State Teaching & Learning Styles put me smack-dab in the middle for both Active/Reflective and Sequential/Global Learning. I can see this in myself: in subjects like Math, or learning a new taekwondo form in my spare time, I like attacking tasks sequentially, systematically, step by step (but generally do better if I know where I am headed). In other areas like Biology or History, I like to get the broad-strokes, “big picture” Bigfirst before filling in details. As for being an active learner, I like to memorize rote math formulas so I don’t have to waste time looking them up, but in English Language Arts, I revel in reflective discussion for hours with classmates about theme, or in debating the how’s, why’s and wherefore’s for motives of character (or author).
So learners, I “get you” on each end of the spectrum.
However, I am highly Visual versus Verbal (I knew this about myself already). I do often use pictures/photos or create a PowerPoint to speak to, thereby hitting both the visual and auditory learners (this is also great for EL’s or Autistic students who tend to derive more meaning from pictures). Non-linguistic representations, whether photos or graphic organizers, help me to organize thoughts to the class, with the class, for the class (and even in my own brain).
I am also more heavily weighted as an Intuitive (versus Sensing) Learner. Although I personally am able to think abstractly, I know that many of my students can’t: I take this heavily into consideration when presenting a lesson, and ALWAYS have them make connections to, and find relevance in relating the lesson material to their own daily lives or hobbies/interests outside of class. If students establish no connection with, nor purpose for the lesson, they are not likely to learn from, nor engage in it.
For Grashen, my higher scores were in Delegator, Personal Model and Facilitator which would lend my teaching style well to the more student-centered, Inquiry-based or Cooperative Learning models. I like for students to ask questions and think at higher-order levels; I encourage them to pursue their passion for learning in what interests them, and by cooperatively exploring and deriving answers, or at the very least, knowing where to seek out information in order to ponder, synthesize and formulate meaning. To me, a Teacher should be a “Guide on the Side” and not a “Sage on the Stage” (although I will admit that the testing that is required of students, and the large class sizes and vast amounts of material to be covered does sometimes realistically warrant Direct Instruction and much Teacher Modeling).
I look forward to meeting and working with you all!