What inspired you to become an educator?


I have always loved working with children. I have had several individuals over the years encourage me to go into teaching. After my year as a paraprofessional at Caney Valley, I really began thinking of getting my certification. I enjoyed seeing how what was done in the classroom could be my calling and truly influence the lives of children.


I had several of my own teachers or teachers I have known who influenced my decision, as well. John Thomas and Linda Crawford were two of my own teachers who have inspired me in my teaching. However, if it were not for Carol Bond (the teacher I worked with as a para) and Jim Knox, my high school superintendent, I probably would not have become a teacher.


What is most challenging as an educator?


While I still think that having energy to keep up with my class is a challenge, I think a struggle that is even bigger for me is time. There is so much more I want to do each year, and I just don’t have the time. I don’t have the time in the day or in the year for all the projects and activities I want to see in my room. I keep trying to find more, and newer, ways to implement more things in my room so that we can get those projects in. However, you cannot add time to the day. So, in reflection of the year, I would say time and resources are my biggest struggles.


What teaching moment is the most memorable?


Oh! This is a hard one … yet my mind automatically goes back to one student. She was in my very first class of third graders. She would come visit my room every year after she was in my class. While she was still at Jane Phillips, she would visit me a lot. By the time she had moved onto middle school, I would get a visit from her at least twice a year. It was so heartwarming every time she walked through my door just to say hi.


I also remember an incident when I had been at the grocery store, and I suddenly heard my name yelled out. I turned to see this, now, early high schooler grinning to see me. She told all about how school and her life was going. Her father shared with me how I had made an impact in her life. That was just before they moved from the area, but it is something I will always treasure.


— Emily Droege