Did any of you attend the UCET 2020 Conference? If you did, you probably saw Ms. Taunya James win the award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the amazing hands-on and tech experiences she provides for her 2nd grade students. Read on to learn a little more about this amazing educator.
Where did you do your teacher prep? Metropolitan State University of Denver and New Mexico State University
Where have you taught in your career? Denver, Colorado; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Lusby, Maryland; and Ogden, Utah.
What is the funniest thing a student has ever said? As I was teaching my second grade students, I set my coffee near a student’s desk. A little while later, I saw my cup and teased the student about drinking coffee saying that it’s not good for you. The student laughed and another student asked me why was I drinking it then. Laughing, I told them that I was old; they were still growing but I finished growing a while ago. The class laughed and we moved on to the next subject.
We were reading a story when I noticed one of my students silently, studiously looking at me. He looked from my head to my feet and back again several times. After a couple of minutes of this, he burst out, completely serious, “Now I know why you are so short! ”
Needless to say, I lost it! I started cracking up! Afterward I told him chuckling, “Yes, I’m short… I’m not sure the coffee caused it though”. He gave me a big smile that seemed to say he was very proud of his deductive reasoning.
What advice would you give to new teachers? Find the humor every day. It will get you through the hard moments.
Describe any experience you have had in education policy. I have met with you senator to discuss an upcoming bill and why I didn’t agree with it. He was wonderful about listening to my opinions.
What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? (I personally think this is a great idea) An ongoing fund for every teacher that is used for learning opportunities where you can use it every year or save it up for a maximum of 3 years for a larger conference event.
Why did you choose to become an educator and why do you choose to stay in the profession? I realized I could help others become lovers of learning. I love working with the students too much to leave.
Taunya is the best! Follow her on Twitter for more inspiration @TaunyaJ