To share experiences and insights from this year’s recipients of the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teacher Awards, we’ve asked them to submit responses to questions we posed to them. Below are some of the responses from Kristen Kutz, teacher at Clifford M. Granger Elementary School in Feeding Hills, MA.
What motivated you to become a teacher/educator?
I was able to observe my mom teaching for years and her passion for the profession inspired me to become a teacher.
What keeps you enthusiastic about teaching/education, and where do you find inspiration?
I am encouraged by my student’s progress and watching how hard they work. Everyday I try to be the best teacher I can be for all of them.
What do you find helps you to effectively interact with students?
I find that flexibility and a sense of humor help me interact with students.
How do you try to balance the demands of your professional and personal life?
It is important and necessary to set aside time for yourself in this profession. After my first year I had to set limits to how late I would stay at work and set aside time for myself on the weekends. If you have time to yourself, you are a better teacher when you are at work.
If you could change just one thing in education today, what would it be?
If I could change one thing it would be the amount and type of standardized testing.
What is some of the best advice you’ve been given? Or what is a favorite quotation?
“See the child not as a problem to be solved, but a wonderful collection of abilities to be developed and grown.” ~Claire E. Hughes-Lynch, Ph.D.
We’d also love to hear from you. How would you answer some of these questions?