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Virginia Journal of Education

Ten Minutes with…Darlene Green

Position:  Kindergarten Teacher
Local Assn.:  Virginia Beach EA     
Years worked in education: 15

What is a typical school day like for you? 
I teach full-day kindergarten and, since we’re a Title I school, the day starts with the arrival of my students for breakfast at 8:10. After viewing the morning announcements, which are broadcast from the library and include saying the Pledge of Allegiance and reviewing one of the seven habits from the “Leader In Me” program, instruction begins at 8:30. Our morning includes calendar activities, interactive reading/writing, guided and independent writing, integrated centers and guided reading, whole group math lessons, and whole group language arts/phonics. Our afternoon includes another whole group math lesson, integrated centers with small group oral language lessons, and/or guided reading.  In addition, we have small group language arts remediation and word story. On selected days, students also go to art, music and physical education classes as well as the library and computer lab. 

What do you like about your job? 
I love being a teacher and can’t wait to get to school to see my students.

My work is rewarding because I can see the tangible results of what I teach. In September, many of my students cannot write their full names. By the end of the year many of them are writing stories of nine or more sentences in neat D’nealian handwriting, on second grade paper. It’s a joy to see their self-confidence soar when they receive accolades for their work when it’s displayed in the hall. Many visitors cannot believe that they’re only in kindergarten. Seeing my students’ eyes light up when they’ve mastered an objective is another thing I like. I enjoy using technology, such as the promethean boards and computers in our room. A really enjoyable activity is to have students use ActivExpressions to text responses for rhyming words. With ActivExpressions, each student is given a remote with a keypad similar to a cell phone. Responses are projected on the promethean board.

I just love instilling in my students that they’re the best and having them achieve standards on and above grade level.

What is hard about your job? 
Since I don’t like to be away from my students, I sometimes I find it hard to attend workshops/classes, but I always learn techniques there that help me to be a more effective teacher. Another difficult thing is saying goodbye to my students on the last day of school. As the yellow bus pulls off I wave with a sad heart because we were together for 180+ days of teaching and learning.

What are some of the most fun and unusual things that have happened on the job? 
It’s funny when my students mistakenly call me “Mama” and then blush. 
I’m also a storyteller and enjoy performing storytelling presentations in costumes at parental involvement activities. It’s always amusing to see students’ reactions when they realize the person in the costume is their teacher. In addition, I also perform dramatic story readings and storytelling concerts in costumes at events in the community.

It’s exciting to transform our classroom into settings that motivate students to do their best work. For Leadership Day, we had a “Kindergarten Walk of Fame” that was a replica of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, complete with a star with each child’s name. Each student walked across the red carpet as their name was announced for the world premiere of their video.

Students star in their own videos, where they do activities such as story retellings. For one of the videos, our classroom was transformed into a television set for a special edition of Reciting Poetry With the Stars. I acted as the host of the show and students were the special guests, reciting poetry individually and as a group. The videos are posted on the school’s website and DVDs are sent home for parents. It’s great fun to watch my students watching themselves in awe on the big screen.

How has being an Association member been helpful to you? 
During elections, the information that the Association provides about which candidates support public education is always very helpful. VBEA/VEA is also great at letting me know what I can do to be an advocate for public education. For example, it’s useful to get emails informing me to call Congress, etc. on certain dates to prevent cuts in education funding. It makes me feel proud to know that I’m part of a national movement to support education. The newsletters, magazines, emails and phone calls from the Association always provide valuable information on current education issues and events.        



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