Moffat County one and only for Ridgeview Elementary teacher Katie Wheeler
Ridgeview Elementary School second-graders Nellie Clark and Aylah Bailey were chosen by teacher Katie Wheeler to be in the spotlight.
"I picked Nellie because of how far she has come as a young lady," Wheeler said. "She is so excited about school this year, and educationally, she has come so far. She gets so excited over learning, which makes my job so rewarding."Of the second student Wheeler chose to spotlight, she said, "I picked Aylah, because she brings a smile to my face every day! She is so sweet and really has become a positive member of our classroom. She works so hard and tries her best at everything she does. Sometimes, things are very hard for her, however, she works so hard to understand a concept or to finish her work. At the end of each day, she is always so excited for the next day."
What is your favorite subject and why? Nellie: I like math, because math is fun. It is fun, because I’m good at it. I also like writing, just a little. I like it because the new writing is easy, peasy, lemon squeezy! Aylah: Math is my favorite subject. I like it because it is cool and it is good for me.
What do you like most about your school? Nellie: I like recess because it is fun. I like to play with my friends at recess. Aylah: I like learning the most. I also like school because it is fun.
Describe the interests and activities you enjoy outside of school. Nellie: I like to make snow angels at home. I like to make snowmen at home, too. Aylah: I like playing with my toys. I like going to gymnastics. I like helping with the animals at my house.
CRAIG — Moffat County School District is the one-and-only place Katie Wheeler has taught.
“I have been in the district since 2008,” she said.
A second-grade teacher at Ridgeview Elementary School, Wheeler describes why she chooses to make her home and her career in Moffat County.
Craig Press: Why did you choose Moffat County?
Katie Wheeler: I chose to come back to Moffat County to give back to the community that has given me so much. I want to give my students what was given to me by the individuals that helped change my life. To change the world, we need to start at home. I believe this not only in our house, but in our community. So, what better way to give back than in the school in which I was taught.
How has your education, training, and work experiences qualified you for your role?
I feel that my bachelor’s degrees in elementary education, special education and my master’s degree in literacy qualify me for my role as a second-grade teacher. Life, however, has given me the compassion that I need to face many of the everyday challenges that occur in the classroom. I feel as an educator I am always in need of tricks of the trade, per se, so I continue to attend professional development throughout the school year and during summer breaks.
What were you like as a student?
I was not the most ideal student; I struggled as a student. I had to work hard to understand many new concepts. So, it made being a teacher hard. However, the compassion that the school personnel, like Jud McIntyre and Joan Kleckler, showed me is the reason that I became a teacher. They never gave up on me.
What do you do if your students don’t “get it”?
If my students are not understanding a concept, I rethink how I am delivering the message to them. I look at how I am teaching the concept and look for a different method to deliver the message to them. I also go to fellow colleagues and ask them for ideas. Sometimes, it is just taking a different approach at a concept.
If a visitor came to your classroom or office and took a photo, what would he or she see in that photo?
If a visitor came into my classroom and took a photo, they would see a lot, depending on the time of day. But no matter the time of day or subject that we are working on, they would see students helping each other — students that are learning and growing and spreading kindness.
How do you measure your success as an educator?
There are several data tools that we use as a district to measure success in our students, however, to me, they are humans, first, not a number. So, I truly measure my success by how a student comes alive within the walls of our classroom. If I can get a student that never speaks to volunteer to read or answer questions, to me, I’m doing a good job. If I can get a student that is so full of anger to see how important laughing is, I’m successful. I also measure success by how a student in my classroom handles getting something wrong, if they can look at me and say, “I just need to rethink this.” Because numbers show me what I need to teach, but all the rest is what the students will face in every day life.
How are you involved in the community outside school?
I try to stay involved in the community by being a 4-H leader. I also love supporting our community by going to sporting events, not just my own girls’ activities, but also my students. I love going and supporting the kids at hockey, football, basketball, and volleyball.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I have one of the best jobs. Every day, I get to watch our future leaders learn and become amazing individuals.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.