Teacher of the Month: Erica Griswold
Teachers have many options once they receive their degree or certification. They can choose elementary, middle or high school, or a specific subject in which to practice. New teachers, however, don’t always get to pick exactly what they want right off the bat. March teacher of the Month Erica Griswold knew she wanted to work with younger children, graduating with a degree in K-8 elementary education with a special education endorsement. But it was a call from the principal at Vaughn Elementary that would help her to find just the right students to impact.
“An opening had become available in an Options Kindergarten class, and she wanted me to come and observe the class to see if I would be interested,” recalled Erica. “At this time, I had little experience with students having significant special needs.”
At the time, Erica’s background was in resource, and she was unsure if it would be a good fit. But she decided she would come and meet the staff and students.
“Let me tell you, the second I set foot in the classroom I was hooked! The students’ sweet spirits and love for their teachers and school was so very heartwarming, I knew I was where I was supposed to be,” she said. “I absolutely love my job and am so very thankful I was given this opportunity.”
Erica is now in her fourth year, and her special needs students are in kindergarten, first and second grade. Despite their learning challenges, Erica says she has never seen a group of students work harder. Seeing their faces light up when something clicks or they understand a concept is something that brings her great joy.
“Seeing the look of pride and accomplishment on their faces for all of their hard work is worth more than gold!” she said.
As an Options teacher, Erica uses a wide range of techniques and learning tools to impact the many different types of learners that come through her door. She’s seen firsthand that no matter the challenge, any one of her students can achieve success, and pushes them to do their very best each and every day.
“The importance of perseverance, any child is capable of great things if they work hard, so never give up!”
For Erica, one phone call and one classroom visit changed her life. She has truly found her passion and the students she can impact the most. It’s amazing what a simple “Yes” can often lead to.