Third grade is a big year for students at Ensworth. You have a whole new lunch period (salad bar/hotbar) with fourth and fifth graders and you aren’t considered the littlest tigers in the school anymore. Today, we catch up with one of our third grade teachers who brings a great history of Ensworth pride with her and a real knowledge on what it means to teach students of all ages, Meet Virginia!
Tell us a little bit about how you made the Ensworth connection and your path that led you to teaching third grade.
I am a Virginia native and am privileged enough to have married into a true Ensworth family with roots deeply planted in Nashville. For well over a decade, I heard about the amazing things this school did. My husband’s family has had over nineteen family members graduate from Ensworth. Prior to the establishment of the high school many of them went on to neighboring schools followed by attending reputable colleges and universities. Despite the experiences had at the other institutions, inevitably conversations always turned back to their beloved Ensworth. I even knew that (my husband) John’s late Aunt Betsy was the only orange in the family long before I knew what an orange or black was. From the old front office, to jumping to try and reach the top of door frames to fond memories of field days and Out West trips (with Coach Inman in the vans), their nostalgic stories took them back to these halls and always put smiles on their faces. Now that I am part of this amazing community, I get it. I finally get it.
To answer the second part of the question, I have a rather interesting road that has led me the teaching third grade. My career has taken me down many paths including teaching high school for six years and teaching at another area independent school before finally landing at this wonderful school. I have taught nearly every grade from Kindergarten to twelfth and I would have to say teaching seniors and teaching third graders are my two favorites. They both have a unique appreciation for school and an underlying love for teachers. If you are lucky enough to have them express that appreciation and/or love, it is a very unforgettable honor.
What would you say is your favorite unit to teach your third graders?
That is a very hard question to narrow down. I love reading the Roald Dahl novels and using different voices and accents. I love teaching Geometry and fractions. However, I would have to say above all I love teaching the students about Native Americans, specifically the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears. The Native American journey has been a passionate interest of mine since I was in third grade. Having had the honor of watching a National Pow Wow in Cherokee (North Carolina) and pass through reservations nation wide, I have been and continue to be very moved by each tribe and the depth of each unique journey. It has further intensified my interest and that filters through to my presentation of the content.
I have noticed that your classroom has a twitter account. How do you connect that to your students and classroom, do you use other social media as a class?
Twitter is amazing. We have an ongoing digital citizenship theme throughout the year and Twitter in the classroom allows the children to navigate a fabulous educational resource safely and constructively. As a class we connect with other classes and educational related accounts internationally. This year as we were reading a Roald Dahl novel and the class decided to tweet about it. Within seconds the Roald Dahl museum in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire UK replied to our tweet. #itwasamazing Additionally, we use our twitter account to conduct mystery Skype’s as well as tweet Math challenge problems. So far we have connected with classes in Canada and Massachusetts through Mystery Skyping. Mr. Champion’s fourth graders are one of our favorite connections to challenge in Math. They do a great job replying and showing all of their work, which we love.
Our entire third grade team has class pages and now tweet regularly about what we are doing in class and connect with international education resources and classes etc. The students love it! Voigt: @MrsV3grTigers Schuld: @MrsS3grTigers Royse: @MrsR3rdgrtigers Bultje: @ThirdEBirds
If you could trade places with any Ensworth teacher for a day who would it be and why?
A P.E. teacher, any of them. Aside from teaching children, I love playing games with them. Especially the games where they laugh and cheer the whole time.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Spending time with family and friends. It is something that I love more than anything. I have a three year old daughter and being able to experience special things with her at this very special time is one of the most fulfilling things in my life.