Kids Discover loves our teachers! We are continuing our goal to honor the amazing educators within our community with another installment of Educator of the Month. For September, I’m so happy to introduce Cindy Donovan, a 4th Grade Teacher from California.
What has your teaching career looked like?
Due to putting my family first as well as several outside circumstances well beyond my control, my career has been a constant cycle of once again being the ‘new teacher on campus.’ Three districts, six schools: 4 years, 5 years, 8 years, 1 year, 8 years, and now 4 years, with 6 more to go! (Praying that I’ll be at Liberty until my final day as an educator!)
But the good aspects of these facts are that I’ve never taught the children of my former students by staying at one school and thus felt old, AND I have made an incredible amount of friends from each school where I have taught. I can honestly say that I am a part of six faculty families, which is an amazing feeling of love and security.
Where do you teach now and what grade/subject do you teach?
I teach general education as a 4th Grade teacher at Liberty Elementary School in Ontario, California.
How has your teaching experience changed in recent years?
My teaching experience has changed in many ways in the last 15 years.
The state of our country and the economic crisis of 2008 impacted me and several of my colleagues in my school district, Chino Valley Unified School District. I was displaced and have taught at four schools in our district since 2009. I was taken from a school that I loved and searched for the right school and grade level until 2018. For this final leg of my career, I have finally found a school that I love again, AND the right grade level for me.
Technology has also greatly impacted how I teach. I have never been a very tech savvy teacher, but one positive aspect of the Covid Pandemic is that I had to become adept with technology almost immediately. I have come a looooong way in the past two years, and now I am proud to say that I actually enjoy using the vast amount of programs and publications such as the one that Kids Discover offers, and I use these online programs along with my in person direct instruction.
Finally, the dynamics of the families of my students have changed. Sadly, most of these changes have not been good for my students.
When did you add Kids Discover to your classroom routine?
I first added Kids Discover to my classroom routine waaaay back in the 1995-1996 school year when I taught a 5th/6th combination class and I was trying to find resources that I could use for the language arts and social studies curriculum of both grade levels. While I would teach language arts to one of the grade levels, I would have the other grade level doing projects with the appropriate Kids Discover magazine for their grade level, 5th grade – American history, and 6th grade – the history of ancient cultures.
Through the years, I have also used Kids Discover magazines for my 4th grade students with the history of the great state of California, and now that we are of course completely into the digital age, last year I began to use Kids Discover online to assign projects to my 4th graders online.
How has Kids Discover impacted your students?
Kids Discover has impacted my students from 1995 to the present with vivid pictures, charts, graphs, and information that is written in an informative and exciting way for them. Now that Kids Discover is online, there are even more features for my students to explore, both with Kids Discover and other research materials that they search for online after being inspired by what they have read first with Kids Discover.
What is your favorite feature or aspect of Kids Discover?
My favorite feature of Kids Discover is how I can search for the content I need to teach my students by state, common core, and Next Generation Science Standards.
What do you love the most about teaching?
I love the connections that I have made with my students and their families for the past three decades of my life. I love seeing my students’ excitement for learning and I live for that ‘light bulb’ moment when I see that a student has grasped what I have taught them and that they are feeling confident and proud of their learning.
What are your hopes for the future of education?
My hopes for the future of education are the following:
I would like to see the funding of public schools made a TRUE priority in America.
I would like to see a much higher starting salary offered for new teachers.
I definitely would like to see smaller class sizes in grades K-12.