Chandra Westerfield, Charlottesville City Schools

Chandra Westerfield, 5th Grade Math & Science Teacher, Walker Upper Elementary School
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
As teachers, we work very hard every moment of the day to help our students succeed. When students struggle, we must find a way to help them even if we have already tried six different ways to teach a concept. Having the support of other educators is imperative to developing research-based lessons that target student deficits.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
Many people may think that teachers work seven hours a day, but in reality, teachers often work ten to twelve hours a day. They also spend a large part of the summer completing professional development courses, teaching summer programs or developing curriculum.
Where do you see the teaching field in five years?
I think the effects of the large number of Baby Boomer teachers retiring in the next few years will be felt in schools across the country. We will be losing some of our best teachers and it will be a challenge to replace their institutional knowledge and experience in the field.
What outside experience best prepared you to become a teacher?  
As a military spouse, I have had the opportunity to work in various government positions. These jobs have helped me develop my leadership and project management skills that I use daily as a teacher. My many moves with the military have also given me the opportunity to travel throughout the world. These multicultural experiences have helped me relate to my international students and their unique perspectives.