kark teacher experience story

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As the first week of school comes to a close for the Pulaski County Special School District, teachers and students are getting into a routine but the start of the year can look a little different depending on how much experience each teacher has under their belt.

It’s the calm before the storm, teachers at Crystal Hill Elementary put the final touches on their rooms before students filter in.

 “Very nervous but I’m excited to meet the kids,” first year kindergarten teacher Shelby Haver said.

Whether it’s year one or year 19, Fifth Grade Teacher Latonya Gilmore says that first week feeling never goes away.

“The idea of getting new students and meeting new parents, yeah always nervous,” Gilmore said. “As crazy as it may seem the first part of the school year seems like my first year.”

Once that first bell rings, however, is when Gilmore said her almost two decades of experience comes in handy.

“I kinda know what I’m doing when I get in there,” Gilmore said.

From the most years leading students to the least, Haver said she doesn’t know what to expect once these desks are filled.

“I just want to make a good impression with the families,” Haver said.

For both teachers, the first week is about getting into a rhythm.

“We are going to heavily focus on routines and procedures,” Haver said.

Haver is focusing on the basics for her young learners.

“I’m really passionate about meeting students social and emotional needs and I love teaching foundational literacy skills,” Haver said.

While Gilmore is able to get a little more advanced for her fifth graders.

“It sounds so cliche but I love to see when the lightbulb comes on,” Gilmore said. “I love to see that they actually love to be here.”

As both teachers get settled this school year, Gilmore does have some advice for those just beginning.

“Take one day at a time, every child is different, and I think probably the biggest one is that everyday we get a chance to start over,” Gilmore said.

Another thing Gilmore says to first year teachers is to just give every day their best.