October 16th marked the 33rd annual Outstanding Teacher Day. Each year University of Vermont honors exceptional educators around our state. Cindy Little (GEMS) and Melinda Carpenter (BFA) were recognized from FWSU. These fine educators exemplify the five standards for VT teachers – Learning, Professional Knowledge, Advocacy, Colleagueship, and Accountability. We are proud of our 2013 Outstanding Teachers!
Today on the blog we are highlighting a Q & A with Outstanding Teacher Cindy Little. Ms. Little is a dedicated Elementary Guidance Counselor at Georgia Elementary Middle School.
Q: What excites you most about being a teacher?
A: I am energized by being a significant person (albeit one of many) in children’s lives; one who cares about how they feel now and who is committed to being with them for the long haul.
Q: When you decided to become an educator, how did your friends and family respond?
A: My friends and family were totally supportive. I started out as the neighborhood babysitter of choice and moved on to wanting to help educate children. My mother and my grandmother were teachers, as well.
Q: If teaching was not your career, what would your career be?
A: If teaching was not my career, I would be a guardian ad litem; one who advocates for children in the court system.
Q: How has your teaching changed since you started?
A: Teaching responsibilities are huge now. The amount of subject area they cover has grown well beyond what it was when I started.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring educators about the teaching profession?
A: My advice for a starting teacher is to find a teacher/mentor who will be there to help you through your first year. Believe in yourself and don’t get discouraged when people try to say that there are no jobs in the field. They were saying that when I started out! New teachers are well-prepared to jump in and do what they love most.
Q: What do you love to do in your spare time?
A: I love to walk outside and appreciate nature all around me. I don’t ever get tired of it!
Q: How would you describe your experiences as a student when you were in school?
A: I grew up in the Burlington School system and had a very positive experience. It was the Baby-Boomer era and classroom numbers were large. When I was a senior I was in the Aspire Program at Burlington High School and was placed in a kindergarten classroom for the entire year. It helped me decide to pursue a degree in teaching. In addition, I made lasting friendships that still exist today! I also came from a very supportive family who valued education and my mother came to every event I was ever in. It didn’t matter how big or small it was, she came to cheer me on.
Q: What is the most important thing you have learned as an educator?
A: The most important thing I have learned is to take each child as an individual; celebrate their uniqueness. Listen to them and they’ll guide you!
“One of the memorable moments from the Outstanding Teacher 2013 ceremony at UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel, was when Cindy Little shared a personal letter from a student that touched all of us. I am fortunate to work with an amazing educator like Cindy, who consistently makes a lasting impact on our students. This honor is well-deserved!” ~ Steve Emery, Georgia Elementary Principal