We’ve been privileged to share the profiles of recipients of the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards. Here, in our last profile of the summer, are the responses of Rita MacInnis, first grade teacher in the Williamsburg-Hampshire Regional School District. We thought that her love of her work made her profile especially appropriate since we just celebrated Labor Day.
Why have you become a teacher? I always wanted to teach, from the time I was young.
What support did you receive, or wish you had received, early in your teaching career? My husband, also a teacher and administrator, was always my mentor and supported me through jobs, job interviews and all teaching experiences.
What keeps you enthusiastic about teaching, and where do you find your inspiration? I love my job! I love greeting my smiley students each morning. I want to do everything I can to ensure their love of learning and to support, nurture and enrich their school experience. They are my inspiration.
Who has been a role model for you? My husband, Tim Luce.
What is a favorite classroom resource (e.g., website, lesson, activity)? I enjoy the resource, Mailbox magazine. I also use the internet and Pinterest for current ideas. Fountas and Pinnell phonics is a program I use and recommend as well. (Ultram) To gain my first graders’ attention, I often raise my hand and say, “5 — eyes are watching, ears are listening, mouths are quiet, bodies are still and hearts are caring.
How do you try to keep a balance between the demands of your professional and personal life? It is definitely easier now that my children are grown, but I always made time to go to their after-school activities and games. On weekends I would enlist their help to make games or charts and to help me in the classroom. I have found that if I am well prepared for school each day, then I am less stressed, and I am a happier wife and mother.