Connections: Linking Talented Educators
Connections: Linking Talented Educators

Changing the World, One Child at a Time

April 3, 2019

Hailey Couch students 1000w

By Hailey Couch (OK '18)

Inspired by Education Post's occasional #LoveTeaching series, we asked Milken Educators to share what inspires them about teaching. Hailey Couch, Oklahoma's 2018-19 Milken Educator Award recipient, tries "to help change the world, one child at a time." She teaches kindergarten at Madison Elementary in Norman.


I have always loved being around children and watching them grow and succeed. I was so lucky to have amazing teachers growing up who truly impacted my life, and I want to be that same teacher for my students. My students are the future, and I am incredibly lucky to play even a minor part in their lives. Laughing, playing, exploring, and learning with my students is something that I will never take for granted. Teaching is more than a job to me; it is who I am, and it is who I will always be. My mission in life is to inspire as many people around me as I can.

All children deserve to have someone who loves and cares for them, someone who will do anything for them. I hope with all my heart that all my students know that I love them. I strive to help change the world, one child at a time, every day that I am teaching. I want my influence on my students now, in kindergarten, to help instill positive attributes with which they, in turn, will influence those around them. I am a cheerleader for every child who walks through my door.

I love teaching, and I cannot see myself doing anything else. My goal every year is that my students leave my class in May as better human beings who love school, love learning, and know how to treat others kindly with respect.

Hailey Couch students hall 1000w

At five and six, children have such a sweet innocence. They love anyone and everyone, and they welcome any person with a big smile and full heart. For example, we just welcomed a new student into our classroom a few weeks ago, and they all greeted him with hugs and kind words. My class became friends with him instantly. It was very special to witness such kindness. Kindergarten students do not see race or color. They see a person. They see a friend.

I learn so much from my littles every day. They keep me on my toes and there is never a dull moment in our classroom. Each day is a new and exciting opportunity to learn. I try to inspire and motivate them daily, but they inspire me to want to be a better educator every single day.

The foundation of a successful education begins at the elementary level. Kindergarten is such an amazing grade level to teach because of the growth that takes place. There is something truly special about seeing a student come to me in August not knowing any letters and sounds, and then leaving my class in May knowing how to read and write.

It is no secret that the youth of today become the leaders of tomorrow. But what kind of leaders will these children be? I want to give them the support they need to pull themselves up to the highest reaches that they can go, because once they get there, they will help to shape the world around them.

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