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Distinguished Teacher Amy Simmons

What advice would you give to people considering a career in teaching?

Hold tight to your ideals and what you wanted to do when you first wanted to become a teacher. In the course of doing the job, I have found that these ideals can comfort you in the face of adversity and frustrations that are bound to happen. I would also advise a new teacher to find a mentor or experienced teacher who has the ability to help them through the first years on the job. This person can be a valuable asset with everyday paperwork, computer programs, lesson planning and basic school climate. The final bit of advice I would give a teacher just starting out in the field would be to be flexible. In other words, plan for a structured day and then be ready to throw it out the window when things don't go as you planned.

What's the best thing about teaching?

The best thing about teaching is teaching students how to learn from their failure and mistakes. In today's world, students and adults have this idea that failure is a bad thing. I often explain to my students, "...if you don't make a mistake how are you learning?" My thought is that if one gets everything right then the answer was already known, and therefore we have not learned anything. So for me, when my students "fail" or make a mistake I have the opportunity to really teach them and watch them truly learn.