TWENTY YEARS A TEACHER
By Kathy Alexander
Monday October 19, 1998. Room 10. 10 students. Fourth grade.
My first day as a teacher at Oak Hill Academy.
Why did I never forget the date I started?
Twenty years a teacher at Oak Hill Academy. It’s time to reflect upon these years – to share my feelings about being a part of the best private school in Monmouth County.
What were my first impressions? First, I must tell you that I was coming from a public school with a classroom of 22 children in the first grade. At Oak Hill Academy, I walked into room 10 and met 10 students. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
I was supported by an administration that allowed me to be creative; twenty years ago, (ancient times!) I was allowed to bring in a video camera as a tool to teach writing. And then there were the families of my students; they welcomed me with open arms. I actually received a bouquet of flowers at the end of my first week.
I found myself teaching students who wanted to learn, and I was able to give each student more of my time. I was able to have a homework club after school, where I could assist students who needed a little boost. And then I was given another opportunity to be creative. It was in after school activities where I was able to share my interest in moviemaking. I saw other teachers finding interests that they could share, too. The chance for children to participate in after-school activities was a feature that made and still makes Oak Hill Academy a great school.
These first impressions proved a true picture throughout my experience at Oak Hill Academy. As the years went by, I felt that I had found a second family. I could see it everywhere – from my classroom up through the administration. Oak Hill Academy showed me what a caring community it is. When there was a death in my family, teachers and administration were there. When I experienced illness, they were there. A feeling of giving, caring, and respect is fostered in our school. It is a joy to spread that feeling to the students, and then see the students care about their fellow classmates.
That Oak Hill Academy provides a top-notch education is a given, but the take-away here is that, for me as a teacher, Oak Hill Academy makes it easy for me to be the best teacher that I can be. And when I can be that teacher and be happy with what I am doing, then the students will catch that feeling and be happy as learners, too. And isn’t that just what we want for our children?