Kaylen Kelly, 3rd Grade Teacher, Greer Elementary School
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The most challenging aspect of my job is also the reason I love it so much—there’s no finish line. Teaching isn’t a job that can ever really be mastered. There’s always something more to learn, new instructional tools and strategies to try out, and, of course, new students each year. All I can hope for each year is to be better than I was the previous year.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
A common misconception about this job is that all I have is a list of things to teach and then I’m done. Teachers have to provide support for our students academically, but also socially and emotionally. If any of those three pieces are missing, our students just don’t learn as well as they could be learning. It continuously amazes me what our students are coping with day in and day out. If I can provide a comfortable and safe space for those kids, then the learning will come.
Where do you see the teaching field in 5 years?
I’m not unique in my hopes for the future of education. Hopefully, we will finally embrace assessments that show us how our students can tackle problem solving, flexible thinking, and real world applications of all the things we teach them. I’m also a huge fan of project based learning and hope that it becomes the norm when walking into any classroom.
What outside experience prepared you best to become a teacher?
I was not what I would consider a “good” student. I mentioned that students have to be comfortable socially and emotionally in order to grow academically. That was just not me. I was a completely awkward kid. I struggled as a reader and can’t remember even liking a book until 7th grade. Seeing school from that perspective helps me recognize those feelings in my students. I can help provide a more positive view of school for both my students and their families.