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Teacher Spotlights

Teaching Excellence Teacher Spotlight: Erika Kovach


What organization do you work for?

KIPP SHINE

What grade-level and subject do you teach?

First grade, self-contained

Where did you attend college and in what did you major? List all that apply.

The Ohio State University- B.A. Spanish, focus on Hispanic Linguistics; Minor in Women Studies

What is the best part of teaching? What is the most difficult part of teaching?

It is amazing how attached I have become to my students. Therefore, I would have to say, the best part of teaching is experiencing with my students their growth; not only academically, but as people. It is an indescribable feeling watching a child who has been working so hard to achieve something finally get it. That smile and sense of accomplishment makes all of the hard times worth it! However, the small acts of kindness towards one another bring me the most happiness.

The most difficult part of teaching is failing. Ultimately it cannot happen (in my mind), but little failures happen ALL the time. It is extremely difficult to work so hard on a lesson and it fails and then you try something different and that doesn’t reach every student either. Especially as a first year teacher, the constant trial and error is exhausting.

Describe a successful teaching strategy that you use in the classroom. How does this impact your students’ achievement?

It is not necessarily a “strategy”, but I think what has been most successful in my classroom is the willingness to try new things. As I said before, it is trial and error continuously this first year, so I have been dedicated to reflecting (Yes, I used the word) on what is working and what is not in my classroom. As soon as I realize something is not working I start figuring out ways to fix it immediately. I have changed my management plans, daily schedule, and lesson styles/structure repeatedly. Time is precious, and I do not want to waste any of my students’ time if what I am doing is not reaching them. This has allowed my students to have exposure to different ways of learning, and in regards to behavior, gives them the chance to be successful. I also hope watching me fail and try it again in a different way will show them that it is okay to fail as long as you are dedicated to solving it the next time (or the next). No quitting.

What 3 words would you use to describe the experience of participating in Teaching Excellence?

Supportive, useful, motivational

When you are not working on closing the achievement gap, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy being with my friends and family most of all. I also like meeting new people, working out, watching football, shopping, eating at a new restaurant, and traveling.

If you could create a t-shirt with a slogan that represents your philosophy of education, what would it say and why?

“Education is everything and everyone deserves a great one.” It is very simple, but it sums it up. Without an education, a child loses the opportunity to be whatever he/she wants to be when they grow up. Without a great education, certain opportunities are lost as well. Every child deserves to be able to fulfill any of their dreams, and since I started working with my students, it is even clearer to me what we as a society will be missing out on in future generations if we do not provide them with the tools they need to succeed.

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