November's Teacher of the Month: Tabitha Stanley
Laughter, smiles & students, oh my! When a person enters Ms. Stanley’s room, it’s easy to mistake the learning going on in the classroom for just plain fun. Whether students are completing an interactive biography about themselves (how Ms. Stanley enjoys starting the year) or performing a creative presentation of argumentative adverbs, it’s clear that she incorporates best practices through movement, engagement, and interactive strategies to help students expand their thinking. In everything, students are allowed opportunities to show they have mastered the standards through their own learning modalities. And the foundation of it all? Ms. Stanley builds relationships with her students so that when the time of correction does come along, students perceive it as love rather than contention.
Having taught eight years total, Ms. Stanley is in her third year here at Beach High. Teaching both ninth and tenth graders, her educational background is in English and Instructional Technology. She blends these two fields seamlessly in the classroom. When considering her own strengths as a teacher, she comments that “I think my largest strength as a teacher is in the relationships that I build with the students. I realize that I am truly called not only to teach these children English and Language Arts but also skills that will help them build character, self-esteem, and become a successful citizen.” And this perspective is seen clearly when she interacts with students. When a student is angry, her caring approach allows them to calm down and communicate; quite obviously, teaching the communication component of English Language Arts extends outside the classroom for her into practical life skills for her students.
When she’s not planning, creating, and interacting with her students here at Beach High, Ms. Stanley enjoys spending time with her loving, dedicated husband James who works so very hard to support the family. And this bliss is not without the blessing of little ones. The Stanleys have three children; her witty, cool daughter Naziah who is nine; and her two, two-year-olds Jamie and Jayce who always keep her on her toes. It’s no wonder Ms. Stanley is a teacher known for her full loving heart yet her ability to think on her feet and work with students. The terrible twos or the terrible teens? Ms. Stanley is able to handle both with ease. In order to enjoy herself in her free time, she enjoys reading and sleeping as well; she certainly deserves it.
But in all of her moments of teaching greatness, she still feels she struggles with organization. When there are one hundred different things going on, she is juggling them all and sometimes feels that she is all over the place. But in all reality, this eclectic approach and ability to juggle the one thousand things that actually take place in the classroom give her an ability to approach any conflict or problem with preparedness. As a teacher, the best advice she can give is this: “It is very important that you develop some type of relationship with your students. Get to know them, compliment them, be kind to them. Once you have established some type of relationship with them, they will be more open to your teaching and discipline.” Surely, Ms. Stanley lives out this belief in her classroom each and every day. And she leaves us with this thought: getting to know students happens by just taking the time out to talk to them, complimenting them on something they have done, noticing when they are absent, and trying to be sensitive to their feelings.
Congratulations, Ms. Stanley on being November's Teacher of the Month. Let’s challenge ourselves with picking up a habit of each of the featured monthly SuperTeachers in our building. In honor of Ms. Stanley and her November reign, let’s make a commitment to building these relationships throughout the month and longer. Make it a point to connect with a student per class each day. We might just find ourselves with MORE laughter, smiles, and students (oh my!), and exceptional learning taking place at the same time.