Don’t miss yesterday’s post in this two-part feature!
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 Melinda Carpenter. Ms. Carpenter is a committed 6th Grade Science & Social Studies Teacher at BFA Fairfax.
Q: What excites you most about being a teacher?
A: My students and peers make my job exciting and engaging. My students are very clever and interesting; they challenge me and make me laugh every day. I reflect on the challenging aspects of my day and try to find strategies to make my teaching more effective. My colleagues are amazing! I am so fortunate to work with such a knowledgeable and supportive group of individuals. Having worked in both the Elementary and Middle School, I have been inspired and influenced by many incredible educators.
Q: When you decided to become an educator, how did your friends and family respond?
A: My family and friends were very supportive. My mother was a teacher for 40 years and I learned a lot from her about the profession.
Q: If teaching was not your career, what would your career be?
A: I have an undergraduate degree in Finance and enjoyed my career before making the switch. Teaching was a better fit for me, but I didn’t dislike my “corporate life.” I have also spent time working in libraries, which I enjoyed very much, so perhaps my “next life” could be in a library or bookstore.
Q: How has your teaching changed since you started?
A: Truly, the only thing constant is change and teaching is no exception. The technology component of the job has changed so tremendously that it’s hard to imagine what the typical school day will look like in 10 years. There are certainly other aspects of teaching that have changed or improved but technology stands out as the most dramatic.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring educators about the teaching profession?
A: Every day you have the opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life. Embrace the knowledge that your attitude and affect sets the tone in the classroom. Be positive and learn from your mistakes. Use your resources and colleagues for support and guidance.
Q: What do you love to do in your spare time?
A: I love to spend time with my family, watching movies, going to sporting events, hiking and enjoying good food. I also love to read, to visit with friends, and to coach basketball and cross-country running.
Q: How would you describe your experiences as a student when you were in school?
A: My experiences were positive and I really enjoyed being a student here at BFA. Although I loved to read and learn, I was also a very social person. I try to keep this in perspective when working with middle and high school students. I make an effort to give my students opportunities to collaborate, debate and problem-solve in groups so that they have ample opportunities to have discussions and interact.
Q: What is the most important thing you have learned as an educator?
A: The work we do as educators is very important. I have learned to appreciate students and families from many different situations and backgrounds. I don’t have all the answers and continue to learn new things about people, teaching and myself every day. I’ve learned it’s important to be positive and open to new experiences.
“One of the things I admire about Lindy’s classroom is that students are always engaged in hands-on learning – whether it’s hiking up Mount Mansfield or working on a science inquiry task. Her focus is truly student-centered as she creates ways to personalize learning for every student. The students really respect Ms. Carpenter and her classroom is a fun place to be. Lindy is an incredible educator with a great sense of humor!” ~ Tom Walsh, BFA Fairfax Elementary Principal