Teacher of the Month shares her recipe for a positive classroom environment

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 5:37 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Take a moment to think back to the moments you walked into your elementary school classrooms. How did it feel?

Were you excited, nervous, or just ready for recess?

As soon as you step foot in Mrs. Shauna Graddy’s kindergarten class at Fox Meadow Elementary School, the students are up and moving.

The students danced while spelling words. They also did a couple of jumping jacks to keep their energy up.

Although they are moving constantly, they are still learning in a way that Graddy said keeps her students engaged.

“It is absolutely the kids, I love sensory play and you know we do dances all the time,” she said.

Graddy said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She helped her own teachers at a young age.

“Help out other teachers as high school students, so I would go in and help them out,” she explained the program she was a part of in high school.

Now, it’s come full circle as she now has her own classroom.

She said her students and her fellow teachers keep her excited each day.

“Our daughter, last year, had to go to LeBonheur for breathing issues and we were encircled by the love of Fox Meadow Elementary,” she said. “And so on the hard days and on the easy days, you know, they are going to have that person there.”

Whether it’s affirmations they yell across the classroom or just a minute of meditation, Graddy said it is important to give her students grace as they learn their emotions at such a young age.

“I’m a firm believer that we all have bad days. I’m an adult and I’ve had time to process these emotions and these feelings,” Graddy added. “These students are 5 and 6 years old. Why should I hold them to a higher expectation than I hold myself?”

Graddy has a theme that love and safety help the learning environment.

“When they are learning, I’m like ‘yeah, you are feeling safe and loved’. Like yeah, you are learning to read, but at the same time, seeing the progress is what I love the most,” Graddy said.

If you have a teacher that you believe should be recognized as teacher of the month click here to nominate that teacher.