I am excited to feature Mrs. Amy Merritt Wood this week and thank her for all her hard work. I admire Amy for all of the work she does in Utah for National Board Certified Teachers. If you are looking to take your teaching practice to the next level, I would recommend becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. Becoming a Board Certified Teacher was a game changer for me. Adding NBCT to my signature opened many professional doors and has allowed me to further my influence in the world of education. But enough about that–this post is about Amy!
Where did you do your teacher prep? I did my BS in Elementary Education at BYU-Idaho. I then completed my ESL and Masters of Education with Southern Utah University. I also earned a National Board Certification in the Early Childhood Generalist Category. I have completed a reading endorsement with BYU and I am currently working on an administrative certification with Utah State University.
Where have you taught in your teaching career? I have taught in Jordan School District my whole career. I taught for first grade at Foothills Elementary in Riverton, UT for 8 years. I have worked 3 years for the Curriculum Department in Jordan School District as a Mentor Teacher Specialist. I am currently on sabbatical this year to complete administrative internships.
What is the funniest thing a student has ever said? Teaching first grade, I have had many. One of my favorites was during a lesson on chunks. We were studying the -ell pattern and I had a student raise their hand and say “hell” for our list we were generating. We talked briefly about the word, that hail–like the ice chunks, has a different ending -ail. We briefly mentioned there’s another version of the word that we don’t talk about at school. As I was trying to move along, a student raised his hand and said, “Miss Merritt, it’s like the song (and he began to sing)… ‘Highway to Hell…’ ”
What one piece of advice would you give to new teachers?
It is never to late to retrain your students on a routine or procedure. Routines or procedures make or break your classroom. If something isn’t working, reflect on it. You are the teacher–you can make changes! The kids will adjust just fine!
What is your favorite teacher resource? I can’t think of just one! I read so much–staying on top of current learning and trends is important to me. Most recently I have been reading a lot on instructional coaching. One of my favorite sites for information here is the Teaching Channel. I also love studying Arizona K-12.
Describe any experience you have had in education policy: I have worked with the Utah National Board Coalition as the VP of Policy to host a Hill Day each year for the past 5 years up at the state capitol building. At this event, we present new teachers to the House of Representatives and the Senate. It’s an honor for these teachers to be recognized for their hard work. I have also worked with UEA and NEA on their Teacher Leadership Initiative and have been involved with helping to spread National Board Certification in the state of Utah.
What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? The biggest change I would like to see is a more positive outlook on education. It seems that education stories hit the news when bad things happen. My desire would be that teachers would be brave and share more of the positive things that are happening in their classrooms because they are seeing miracles everyday. As educators, we have the power to create change by sharing our stories of why we teach and the little miracles we see.
Thanks Amy for all you do for the students and teachers in Utah. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!
And because she looks so beautiful in this photo- I had to share: