5th Grade Teacher, Will Rogers Learning Community
The Educator Spotlight recognizes those who contribute to the education of local students. Educators were chosen by consulting with site PTA, student government organizations and staff. Educators were chosen for their reputations with students, staff, parents and the community.
Courtney Howard, 5th grade teacher at Will Rogers Learning Community, is finishing her sixth year as an elementary school teacher, and her fourth in SMMUSD. Over the course of her career, she has taught 3rd through 5th grade, but has taught 5th grade the longest. Howard is a passionate educator who believes all children can succeed and that it is her responsibility to prepare them for life. She feels her classroom is “like a family” and that she will always be interested in her students’ future successes. She is most passionate about incorporating Blended Learning into her classroom to not only meet the needs of students, but to also provide opportunities to engage in problem solving, collaboration, and project-based learning. She is also looking forward to including Social Justice and Restorative Justice practices into her pedagogy next year, planning to focus on this over the summer.
Two of her favorite quotes are: “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind” (Dr. Wayne W. Dyer) and “You don’t need a cape to be a hero. You just need to care” (Kid President).
Teaching for me is an opportunity to invest in a student’s educational future which is what keeps me motivated to continue teaching; especially during the difficult times. I became a teacher because I was lucky enough to have amazing teachers who helped shape me into the person I am today and I wanted to have the same impact on the students I teach. I also enjoy seeing students make growth in their learning and as an individual during the time they are in my class. The best feeling as a teacher is seeing the “light bulb” moment when a student was struggling with something and finally has success!
Being a teacher allows me to have the greatest impact in a child’s future. I strongly believe all children deserve the opportunity to receive a high quality and rigorous education and that all students are encouraged to succeed. As a teacher I am able to help students not only become lifelong learners but also to encourage them to dream big, take risks, persevere, and recognize their strengths and find their passions. My goal every day in my classroom is to inspire and motivate my students to ask questions, challenge their thinking, and strive to be better than they were when they entered my classroom. The greatest feeling I have as a teacher is when students come back to visit and parents thank me for being their child’s teacher. There is no better feeling than being thanked for being an educator.
I also love hearing from parents once their child leaves my classroom. The greatest success as a teacher is knowing my students are having continued success after leaving my classroom.
I want my students to learn how to be a T.E.A.M. “T.E.A.M. = Together Everyone Achieves More.” But, most of all, I want my students to leave my classroom knowing that I was a tough teacher because I cared and wanted nothing more than for them to be prepared for middle school and for life.