Reading into the Future with Kim

How many years have you been at Wise School? I have taught for 25 years at Wise School and I have always taught in First Grade while here. I have loved every minute of my time here.  I have a real family at Wise School. My favorite part about being here is that I can walk around campus at any given time and feel like I am so warmly embraced. I have parents from last year and years ago stopping me at carpool to say hi. I can’t walk across the parking lot without being stopped five times by members of our community. And that means everything.

What is something you love about our school? I like the fact that I have grown up here. When I came here, I was single. So I have been through many milestones with the community here at Wise. I got married, have gone through the birth of my two children, Jake and Jenna, and a lot of other major changes in my life. The school is a huge community and it has always been very welcoming and warm. When I am not home with my family, I know I have people here at school that are always here to love and support me.

What are some of your likes and dislikes? I love going to the movies. There is nothing better than going into the movies, grabbing some popcorn and just getting some quiet time.  I also love going to Broadway musicals. I just saw three this winter including The Nutcracker and Wicked. My all-time favorite, though, might be Les Miserables. But I love Wicked. We have seen it twice. Oh! And the beach – I love the beach! Dislikes – that is easy. I do not like green peppers. I can’t stand them – I don’t know why.

So, when you are not in school…. A lot of my time outside of school this year has been spent helping my son, Jake, find the perfect college… and getting ready to help him move on and out of the house for the first time. We are traveling a lot on the weekends to visit colleges. I feel like I have had very few weekends at home lately. I also spend a lot of time on the soccer and baseball fields on the weekends – my kids are very athletic. We also love to cook together as a family and we love spending time together.

Sounds like you have some great family traditions.  Are there other ways you build in time together as a family? Well, we love decorating our house for all of the holidays and seasons. We are always putting up little signs or putting pillows around the house to make it as welcoming as possible. The inside of our house always depicts what season it is and we have nice traditions that help us spend more time together. Every season brings something different.  As soon as the weather gets nice, we are outdoor people – barbecue people.  My family is constantly out in the backyard on the weekends. I love that opportunity to have family and friends over.

When it comes to teaching, what are some of the greatest rewards and challenges you have experienced over the years? Specifically, when it comes to First Grade, I think reading is by far the greatest reward. We see children come into the room who are intimidated by reading and by being asked to read. We get to see their progress throughout the year as they work in their reading groups and we see where they leave us at the end of the year as independent readers. It is a huge transformation! It is also great to see my former students – kids who are now sixth graders – making speeches up at Temple or for other occasions. I know that my work with that student plays a part in everything they do from here on out in their school career and that is a great feeling! It’s a funny thing, I just had one of my prior students come up to me at Shabbat dinner to tell me that he is in college now, and he told me that he still remembered being in my reading group! How wonderful is that?! As for challenges, it frustrates me when I see a student struggling with something. I really want to help them with whatever concepts they are struggling with and work to help them overcome that challenge. I feel that frustration with them and I just want to help them as best I can.