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.

The 2016-17 school year will be Holly Hodges seventh year of teaching. It’s her third year in SMMUSD and she’s thoroughly enjoyed teaching John Muir kindergarteners, and being the Professional Development Leader for Muir.
Hodges love of children lead her to become a teacher. “They are energetic, fun, curious, and free-spirited, and I knew that I wanted to spend my days working with them!” Hodges loves being able to use new strategies in her classroom. This year she is looking forward to using the reading and writing workshop model together, and to continue growing in her knowledge of CGI/counting collections.

She’s been using Common Core since she began teaching in Tennessee, and is finally feeling proficient and knowledgeable about how to best teach these standards in kindergarten. Although she says, “the standards can be seemingly overwhelming, it’s crucial that teachers choose ‘power’ or ‘focus standards’ in collaboration with the next year’s teachers so that they can be sure to prepare their students for future success.”

Hodges Speaks

I love the feeling of knowing that I can make a difference, even in the smallest way, in the life of a child. My passion as an educator is to preserve the play aspect of learning for children. I appreciate their age and wonder and try to foster that in my classroom.
I’m always excited as a kindergarten teacher to see how much my students will grow! It’s amazing to see what they are able to do it August compared to in June.

I’m most inspired by other teachers! I love reaching out into the Instagram and blogging community to learn from other teachers who are in their classrooms trying new things and learning daily. I’m also inspired by researchers who are rooted in child development since that’s my background. I love the quote “Play is the highest form of research” by Albert Einstein. It encompasses my view on teaching kindergarteners and how they learn!

I’m lucky that kindergartners love to show their appreciation.The hugs and “You’re my favorite teacher” comments (even though I’m probably the only teacher they’ve had so far in their short lives!) mean so much to me. I love hearing from a student that they missed school when we return from a break or long weekend. And so many kindergarten parents are so supportive and appreciative. I can’t express how grateful I have been for the sweet gestures and support they’ve given me over the years! It doesn’t take much, just a nice comment or casual conversation after dismissal can brighten my day. And a simple “thank you” truly goes a very long way!

My biggest goal as a teacher is that my students learn to respect each other, help others, and be kind. Kindness that is fostered in childhood and supported throughout adolescence makes empathetic adults! I would love to be able to follow along on my students’ journeys as they grow up so I can see the amazing things they accomplish. The ultimate achievement as a teacher would be to see how successful my students become!

I am so happy to be part of the SMMUSD community. I feel so supported and encouraged as a professional here, and being part of the Muir family only makes my experience better. I love how small we are and how much we can collaborate and grow together. This year begins the longest period of time teaching in one school (after moving across the country a couple of times!) and I’m so happy to have found my teaching home!