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Stories from the Field

California Casualty Awardees Terrilyn Fleming: Exchanging Ideas

Great educators have great stories. This series gives a glimpse of the ideas, practices, and experiences of the recipients of the NEA Foundation’s California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence. Today, we’re sharing the words of Terrilyn Fleming, an arts educator at J. Graham Brown School in Louisville, KY.

I’ve found that exchanging ideas with other educators about lesson plans, classroom management, new technologies, and new techniques is the best way to increase professional knowledge and skills.

This year, I moved into a new position at a K-12 school. To this point in my career, I had only taught high school and limited middle school classes. Though I had raised my own children, having 24 four- and five-year-olds in my classroom was a bit overwhelming.

After the first day of school, I went to all of the other elementary teachers in the building and asked for tips. They freely gave what they were going to teach in class (so I could connect it to the drama curriculum) and gave me management ideas for the K-2 crowd.

But just like high school and middle school students, I found that if I ask K-5th grade students for ideas and tips, they are more than willing to oblige! By getting to know my students individually and asking for advice from other educators, I have been able to differentiate instruction in the 15 rotating classes to accommodate all 357 students in the program.

Meet more of the 2018 NEA Foundation awardees hereLearn more about the NEA Foundation’s Awards for Teaching Excellence criteria and nominations process.

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