Recently, the six schools in the Milford School District announced their nominees for Teacher of the Year. The six nominees will compete for the title of District Teacher of the Year which will be announced in May. Morris Early Childhood Center’s nominee Jaime Hill is proud to have been chosen as the nominee for the 2016-’17 school year.
Born and raised in Milford, Hill graduated from Milford High School before earning her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Wilmington University. She went on to pursue her Master’s in Special Education. Hill began her teaching career 17 years ago as a kindergarten teacher for the Indian River school district, where she was for 13 years before teaching at Morris. After the birth of her second son, she knew it was time to pursue a teaching position closer to home.
“Morris is such a wonderful school and I am very proud to be a part of that. I’m glad to be home,” said Hill. “I was very humbled to be named teacher of the year for Morris. Morris is an amazing school, and I have the privilege of working with such dedicated and hardworking coworkers. There are so many teachers in the building that are deserving of this award. I am very proud to represent Morris as their teacher of the year.”
Since as long as Hill can remember, she wanted to pursue a career in teaching, particularly in early childhood education. Seeing the hands-on learning that each child experiences is what keeps Hill excited about her work as a teacher. “What brings me back each year are the children and the astounding academic and social growth that each child makes every year,” said Hill. “After 17 years, I still get excited for the start of a new school year and the challenges that each year will bring. As long as I continue to feel that excitement, I will continue to teach kindergarten.”
Kindergarten is the first time many children experience learning outside their home, both in academics and social interaction. Hill knows that these first steps are vital for the future of the children she works with. “What I enjoy most about teaching is knowing that I have made a difference in a child’s life. Kindergarten is an amazing year. The social and academic growth that children make in kindergarten is truly fascinating,” said Hill. “There is something to be said about a look on a child’s face when they read for the first time…it’s priceless.”
Along with the responsibility of building the foundation for future experiences in school, Hill understands the challenge of differentiating instruction to meet the needs of each student in her classroom. Each year a new group of five year olds enters her classroom with various academic, social and emotional strengths and weaknesses. “Equality in the classroom is not about each child getting the same, but about each child getting what he or she needs. I owe it to each of my students to find ways to reach their individual needs,” Hill said. “That is always challenging; yet it from that challenge that I have my biggest successes. The challenges are what keeps me motivated and on my toes.”
As an experienced teacher, Hill wants new and future teachers to know the importance of ‘teaching the whole child.’ “Take the time to get to know your kiddos; their strengths, weaknesses, fears and successes. Teaching is not just about lesson plans,” said Hill. “Building quality relationships with students is so important. Teachers who have the best relationships with their students are the most successful. Take the time to create a safe environment for your students.”
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