First-year Paint Valley teacher prepares for the upcoming school year
CHILLICOTHE— Kennedy Ramsey has dreamed of being a teacher for as long as she can remember. This month, her dream is becoming a reality.
She said, "My heart was more in education than anything." After graduating from Ohio University-Chillicothe in April, she now is moving on to her first teaching job in a second-grade classroom at Paint Valley Elementary School.
Although her ultimate goal is to simply survive the year, she hopes to make meaningful connections with her students and leave a lasting impact.
"I like the idea that you could be a light in one of their lives because I know not all of their home lives are the same. They're not all going to have a supportive family," Ramsey said. "I would love to be that for the children that need that."
She also hopes to be a fun teacher, just like she remembers having in her childhood.
When Ramsey was in second grade, she had a teacher that would reward her students with fake money that the children could use to buy prizes. She said it helped teach her how to save and use money while also giving her something to look forward to.
She remembers how cool it was to be able to buy things on her own in the classroom. She said the simple activity created a memorable second grade for her and was "the highlight of second grade," so she hopes to do the same in her classroom.
She had the opportunity of job shadowing in college but has also spent her years in pre-college education picking up skills, tips and tricks from her childhood teachers.
Previously working with preschoolers and first-graders in college, she has never worked with a second-grade classroom. With the new territory of having her own classroom and teaching an unfamiliar grade, Ramsey is equally scared and excited to enter the “unknown.”
"[Second-graders are] a little bit more independent, which I don't mind that they rely on me at all, but they don't really rely on me as much like in preschool," Ramsey said. "I like the independence."
Preparing for the first day called for lots of shopping, decorating and laminating. She knows where to shop for good deals on decorations and supplies, in addition to going to thrift stores and yard sales.
Like most teachers, Ramsey bought the majority of her classroom supplies with her own money.
As an honorary Disney kid, Ramsey was excited to transform her classroom into a Disney theme park, picking up Disney-themed decorations throughout the summer.
She created a character alphabet wall with each letter representing a different Disney character. She made Mickey Mouse balloon decorations and a Monster’s Inc-themed reading corner with books and comfy seating.
Classroom staples like a calendar, chore chart and name tags required hours of printing, laminating, cutting and gluing. Ramsey was committed to transforming the bland classroom into a colorful, fun learning environment that she would’ve enjoyed when she was a kid, and she can't wait for her first day.
Megan Becker is a reporter for the Chillicothe Gazette. Call her at 740-349-1106, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @BeckerReporting.
This article originally appeared on Chillicothe Gazette: First-year Paint Valley teacher prepares for the upcoming school year