Helena Magazine

Get to know Helena Elementary first grade teacher Misty Stephens

Published 3:45 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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A Q&A with Misty Stephens

Helena Elementary School first grade teacher

How did you become a teacher, and when did you come to Helena?

As a little girl, I was always teaching my stuffed animals. I kind of always knew I wanted to teach, but I didn’t realize it until my sophomore year in college. I graduated from the University of Montevallo with a special education degree. I received my general early childhood certification from UAB. I furthered my education by getting my master’s degree from The University of Montevallo and I have my national board certification. I taught in Birmingham City Schools for eight-and-a-half years before coming to Helena. This is my 16th year at Helena Elementary.

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

There are many reasons why I love teaching. One of my favorites is when my students have that “WOW” moment when they understand a new concept or are able to apply their learning independently. I love when they get excited about learning, make connections, and work together to solve problems. It makes my heart smile when I reflect and see how much they have grown from the beginning of the year to the end.

As a teacher, what is the biggest thing you’ve learned from your students?

I have learned many things from my students over the years. Some that come to mind are to always be flexible,  to be present in the moment and be forever curious.

Being a first grade teacher, what do you wish more people knew about kids?

At this age, children are very open minded. Every child enters the classroom with different personalities, backgrounds, and experiences. Children always find a way to create a family bond within the classroom. It is truly magical to see.

How would you describe your teaching style?

I would describe my teaching style as student centered with hands-on, small group, and individualized learning. I try to incorporate fun activities to help promote reflective thinking. I encourage students to learn from their mistakes, have a more active role in their education and help them develop a sense of love for learning.

What is your favorite unit/lesson to teach and why?

It is hard to pick just one lesson because there is so much I enjoy teaching. I love reading books to my students. It is always fun to watch their reactions to each story. I also enjoy teaching about space. The children always have a lot of questions, and there is so much to explore.