Education Q&A: Susannah Moreland

Helena Elementary School teacher Susannah Moreland discusses her favorite things about teaching kindergarten.

 

Tell us about your career background? How long have you been a teacher?

A native to Shelby County, I grew up in Columbiana. I competed in Miss Alabama and won scholarships that helped pay my education . I graduated from the University of Montevallo earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. I began the first stint of my teaching career at Oak Mountain Elementary School as a second grade teacher.

During that time, my husband Mitch (then fiancé’), was playing for the Texas Rangers. After we got married, we decided I would move and travel with him during baseball season and hit pause on teaching. Growing up, I played teacher or house. I am blessed that I was able to be a stay at home mom and travel with Mitch and our children (Crue, Swayze, and Ledger) during his twelve year career in Major League Baseball.

 

How long have you taught kindergarten?

Teaching kindergarten kind of fell in my lap. Last year, Mrs. Holcomb gave me the opportunity to take over a maternity leave position at the beginning of the year as a reading interventionist. I fell back in love with being in an elementary school. Literally everything about it. The smell, the happiness children bring, and the teachers and friendships that are built. So, I took two more maternity leave positions in Kindergarten; a grade I never thought I would want to teach. It’s funny how God works. He puts you where He wants you to be.

Helena Elementary School is special. Our community is so blessed to have the incredible teachers and leadership we have been afforded. Now, I don’t think there is another grade I would want to teach. I love the age, the curriculum, and I love my team of teachers I get to work with and call my friends.

 

What is your favorite thing about teaching kindergarten?

They are FUNNY! They are so innocent and sweet at this age. Never tell your child something you don’t want their kindergarten teacher to know! We hear it all!

And I can’t say it enough,  but the kindergarten team is special. It makes the hard days easier knowing that we all support and help each other.

 

What is the most challenging thing about teaching kindergarten? 

Kindergarten curriculum today is comparable to 2nd grade curriculum I taught 13 years ago! The most challenging thing I am learning is the balance between making sure students are retaining curriculum taught while still being able to just be a child. It truly blows my mind, but is also so rewarding, to see how much they learn and grow. It’s fun to get to be a part of their learning process. I take it personal. If I have a student struggling with a topic, I want to know what I need to do better.

 

What has been your favorite activity that you have done with your students so far this year? 

Oh we do so many fun things in kindergarten! However, we had that stretch of cold and rainy weather that kept us inside for a couple of weeks. Leave it to Alabama weather to have a random sunny and 70 degree day to pop up. In our PLC group, Mr. Riley, Mrs. Henderson, Mrs. Rooker, and myself were picking our kids up from P.E. We all looked at each other, talked about it, and decided we were teaching math and science outside together that afternoon. When we told our classes and they saw the buckets of chalk in our hands, their reactions and excitement were priceless!

 

What do you look forward to the most at the start of each school year?

The anticipation that leads up to meeting your students. I am a firm believer that God places you in lives for a specific reason. To know that He handpicks each child for your class is just so special. We may be there to teach our students, but at the end of the day, they teach us so much about ourselves. We get to see each day through a child’s eyes. We are with our students almost more than their parents. I want my students to know they are loved, to know they are special in their own ways, and to know they can be anything they want to be if they work hard enough to achieve it.

 

In your opinion, what makes Helena Elementary School a special place to work?   

Hands down the administrators, the teachers, the staff, and the best PTO! I can’t say enough about our leadership. They encourage and push us to be better. I don’t think there is a school where teachers work harder and if you look at the success of the students, it shows. We support and care for each other.

Our CNP staff work tirelessly on meals that aren’t your typical “lunchroom food” kind of meals. They are phenomenal! Our paraprofessionals and aides work day in and out to make each day run smoothly for students and teachers. We have the best nurse who cares for all of the things! Right down to our maintenance and custodians! Mr. Gary takes care of ALL of us and our custodial staff is the sweetest.

It’s truly team that just feels like family. We are one blessed community and I am fortunate to be a part of it.

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