What I Do MattersApril 30, 2019
By Krista Trent
Fourth-grade teacher Krista Trent (OH ’18) loves being an educator because she knows she’s helping to build the future. She won Ohio’s 2018-19 Milken Educator Award at Thornville Elementary in October 2018. This essay was inspired by Education Post's #loveteaching series.
I have THE best job. By no means is it easy, but it is worth it. For me, here are some of the best parts of being a teacher:
1. My work gives me purpose. I'm helping to build the future by pouring into the lives of my students. They may be a group of diverse 10-year-olds right now, but not too long from now, they will be adults—hairstylists, engineers, farmers, accountants, and parents. What I do matters. I stress with my kids that adulthood doesn’t happen overnight. I tell them that we don’t wake up one day with it all figured out, and you have to work every day to become the adult you want to be. Those “real world” conversations with my students are some of my most enjoyable and important moments.
2. Relationships. That whole “don’t smile until Christmas” thing just doesn’t work for me. I use humor to relate to my kids, most of whom earn a nickname from me at some point in the year. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to reach the quiet new kid who doesn’t have any friends yet, the gifted underachiever with a big attitude, and the class clown who leads us down countless rabbit holes. I give them a place to belong, a place to call home: Mrs. Trent’s classroom.
3. My amazing coworkers. I work with a group of passionate, caring, and positive co-workers who would do (and have done) anything for me, my students, and my family. From celebrating weddings and babies, to grieving for each other in times of loss, we have each others’ backs, no matter what. Plus, I know I always have someone to watch my class when my teacher-sized bladder finally waves the white flag.
4. Those “light bulb” moments. Showing my students that there is always more than one way to solve a math problem is a daily part of my class time. We talk about different strategies, why they work, and how they all can lead us to the right answers. Giving that high five to the student who finally gets long division ... that’s what feeds my soul and gives me the fuel to keep going! When the class stops and cheers for a struggling student who gave an amazing answer, that makes me beyond proud.
5. Technology. Yes, I love technology (and so do my students)! We use it every day as a learning tool in some capacity. When we first got iPads, I was nervous to use them because I had never owned an Apple product, but the kids taught me how to use it better than any tutorial could have. By the way, using the keyboard commands to copy and paste will blow a fourth-grader’s mind!
6. Five words. Summer break and snow days! Seriously though, I love spending those days with my own children.
Teaching really is “heart work” and I do my best when I put kids first. I’m a lifelong learner, and I learn something new each and every day in my classroom. If I can inspire my students to have that same philosophy, I will have succeeded. I love teaching!
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