I’m Courtney Robinson, and I’m excited to introduce you to one of the teachers I work with, Kierra Gregory. Kierra shows real strengths in creating a positive climate through a strong focus on teamwork. Read below to learn more about the great things going on in Kierra’s classroom.
What organization do you work for?
What grade-level and subject do you teach?
7th Grade Social Studies
Where did you attend college and what was your major? List all that apply.
University of Maryland- Baltimore County (Psychology with a concentration in Developmental)
Norfolk State University (Community Counseling)
What attracted you to teaching?
As a previous behavioral counselor in the middle school environment, I realized that my ultimate passion was to foster and nurture children on every level. As a counselor you are able to see a concrete goal foreseen with each client. However, I wanted to help children not just on a behavioral level but on an educational level as well. I started to look into different ways that I could be infused into the classroom setting and a teacher I was working with informed me about Teach for America. After researching Teach for America, I was immediately impressed and overjoyed that so many people felt the same way I felt about our education system and the lives of our future kiddos. I believe that it takes individuals with a strong passion and a particular type of leadership that will ultimately close the educational achievement gap and I wanted to be a part of this transformational change that is taking place across the world. That required me to embark on this new journey of teaching our future leaders of America.
What is the best part of teaching? What is the most difficult part of teaching?
The best part of teaching is seeing children achieve goals that they thought could not be reachable. Being able to directly impact a child’s life is the best part of my job. I am not just a teacher; I am a mentor, role model, advocate, and educator. The most difficult part about teaching has to be the realization that you only have this one year to do this amazing job and ultimately these children that you have grown to love are one day going to leave your classroom and continue on their educational journey. It is very bittersweet. However the relationships that you build will hopefully go beyond your one year and you can keep in touch with some of those faces that you admire and look forward to watching prosper.
Describe a successful teaching strategy that you use in the classroom. How does this impact your students’ achievement?
A strategy that I use in my classroom that I feel is a success would be groups. I believe that group work is very beneficial to the age group that I teach. At 12 and 13, students are very impressionable about relationships that they are building with each other. Socially you see many cliques and groups forming and groups inside the classroom gives students the opportunity to work with teammates that are not a part of their everyday group or clique. For example, groups in my classroom consist of four different roles (leader, scribe, messenger and a looker). These roles must be executed by a different student each group session. I listened in on a conversation one day where students were encouraging an individual in their group to be the leader because they believed that he could fulfill this role. This student is someone who is new to the school and very shy. However it was the students in the group encouraging that he take on a role that he was not familiar with instead of me as the teacher. This is the type of leadership and collaboration that I love to see in my classroom: students owning their learning and pushing each other beyond their current capabilities.
When you are not working on closing the achievement gap, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy shopping. Shopping is an avenue for me to just be free and indulge in so many great clothes and shoes, However when shopping comes to an end I am ok with just popping in a good movie and relaxing with friends or loved ones. Since I am new to Houston, I have been taking trips around the city just sightseeing and enjoying the new scenery. Whenever I am able to get moments alone, I will find a nice park or great location and pull out my poetry journal and write. These are the things that keep me going and they’re ultimate “wins.”
What three words would you use to describe the experience of participating in Teaching Excellence?
Interactive, Motivating, and Enthusiastic