Archive for Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Harms has passion to teach

August 29, 2001

Hilary Harms' first year of school is beginning all over again.

The recent Baker University graduate started her first year of school as a teacher two weeks ago at Baldwin Elementary School.

"I was really nervous before I came in that first day," Harms said. "But I was surprised when I walked into the classroom and I was confident. I was a teacher. I was ready."

The new third grade teacher spent much of the summer, and even a little last spring, preparing for this year's class of 18 students.

Harms said she studied the curriculum, read teacher resources, talked with other teachers and wrote personalized letters to both her students and their parents.

Two weeks before school started, she said she, along with the help of family and friends, transformed the former music room into her first classroom complete with posters, photos and twinkle lights.

"I brought in things that are special to me that I'd hope they'd find special," she said. "I tried to create a warm atmosphere, a fun, new place to learn and be comfortable."

But Harms said preparing for her first year of teaching didn't just take place over the summer.

She said she first thought about becoming a teacher in high school.

"In ninth grade I felt it's what God called me to do," she said.

"I had a lot of good teachers growing up and I admired them," she said. "I thought it would be a good way to make a difference."

After four years at Baker and student teaching at Clear Creek Elementary in the DeSoto school district, Harms accepted the Baldwin teaching position over four other offers.

"I worked here in school through the Baker work study," she said. "I felt I wasn't ready to leave. I like the community I found in Baldwin and I'll be able to grow with the teachers here."

Harms said she has been enjoying getting to know her first class.

"The kids are great," she said. "I was nervous to have 18 kids of my own, that I'm responsible for. It was scary at first, but it's been very exciting."

Even though she's taken on the teaching role, she said she hasn't stopped learning.

"Every day is a new day. Every day I learn something new and I teach something new," Harms said. "The kids are teaching me as much as I'm teaching them."

Even though there will be the occasional bad day, she said seeing her students learn makes teaching worthwhile.

"You're going to have some hard days. I go in with the attitude that it's not going to be a perfect day every day," she said.

"But something happens when I start to teach and when the kids start to learn," Harms said. "There's a passion on my part and a passion on the part of the kids. That's when you see the accomplishments."

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