With the summer winding down families are doing all they can to get in as many family activities as possible before the start of the 2013-2014 school year begins on Monday, August 26. While most kids are still focused on riding bikes, building sandcastles or shooting hoops, many teachers are already preparing their classrooms for incoming students and their families.
The official start day for teachers in the Milford School District is Wednesday, August 21, but some faculty members including second and third grade teacher Sandy Soucek are spending their last days of summer in their classrooms ensuring that they will be ready for students. Beginning her teaching career 21 years ago, Mrs. Soucek knows that smart preparation will lead to a successful year for her students.
Earning her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Development from Delaware Technical College, Sandy entered her first teaching program at Wilmington University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Teaching at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School in Milford during the school year, she earned her Master’s Degree in Instruction from the University of Delaware during her summers.
In second grade, teachers are prepared to teach an entire spectrum of instruction including language arts, math, science and social studies and a new targeted instruction program called Response to Intervention. Mrs. Soucek will be receiving a new set of students this year as she takes students through second and third grade together for two years. Sandy is excited for her new students and is anticipating a fun year for her class.
“There is always that excitement and anticipation of who they are going to be, I enjoy seeing what their talents are and learning to emphasize them over the year,” commented Mrs. Soucek. “The first month of school is not just about instruction but establishing a community among the classroom.”
One of Sandy’s favorite parts about being a teaching is watching her students develop into adults. Her first class of students at Benjamin Banneker included Morgan Fry and Mary O’Neil, who both are now teachers in the Milford School District; Morris Early Childhood Center and Milford High School respectively. Sandy has great confidence in this year’s class and is eager to meet them next week.
“I know they will do a great job academically and do well on State Testing because we work very hard on those areas,” commented Mrs. Soucek. “A big goal of mine is for them to not only excel in academics but for each of them to come away with a sense of accomplishment: To gain a great group of friends, build confidence and self-esteem, and have a sense of community as they work together.”
Preparing her room by covering the walls with instructional materials and packing welcome bags for the students, Sandy has fun with everything she does in the classroom. She acknowledges that keeping it fun and focusing on the learning needs of the children is key to success.