VANDALIA – Amy Heis, a first grade teacher at Helke Elementary School, has been named the September Staff Member of the Month by the Vandalia-Butler City Schools. Heis was nominated by Principal Brian Tregoning.
“Amy has helped to spear-head fundraising efforts to bring MUSE Machine’s Artist in Residence program to first grade, attended a three-day professional development program during the summer to help first grade implement a science curriculum and is one of many teachers in the building fostering a flexible seating arrangement within her classroom,” said Tregoning.
How long have you been in education?
“This is my fourteenth year. I started teaching at Helke in 2003.”
Why did you choose to be a teacher?
“I have always enjoyed working with children. I love building their confidence by giving them strategies to achieve goals and tasks so they can accomplish them swiftly and easily. I job shadowed several positions working with children in high school and the job I was always led to was teaching.”
Did you have a teacher who made an impact on you?
“Yes. Mrs. Pam Ebert was my first grade teacher at George Washington Elementary in Marion, OH. I still think of her often and I hope she knows that she is the teacher who had the greatest impact on my education and decision to pursue a career in education.”
What is your proudest career accomplishment?
“I would have to say when my former students, from my first year teaching, graduated from high school in 2015. I went to the graduation ceremony at Butler High School and I was so proud to visit with my students from my very first class. There is something special about this group of students who have inspired my zest for education more than they will ever know! My students continue to spark an enthusiasm in me each school year.”
How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
“I believe all students have talents, interests and abilities unique only to them. It is my responsibility and job to get to know my students and use their talents, interests and abilities to provide them with an education that is appropriate for them as an individual. I provide regular differentiation in my classroom. I have found by doing this, my students feel less frustration and have gained self-confidence. I love what differentiation does for my students each year.”
How do you think students would describe you?
“I think my students would describe me as energetic, fun, creative, engaging and willing to try new things.”
Are you working on any special projects at Helke or in your classroom this year?
“I am working on implementing the ‘Picture Perfect Science’ program. During the summer, I attended a three-day workshop and I am excited to be able to implement this program with my first graders. This award-winning program has elementary science lessons designed to help teachers integrate science and reading in an engaging, kid-friendly way.
In addition, I have implemented flexible seating into my classroom this year. I have obtained various seating options such as yoga balls, scoop rockers, bean bags, benches, wobble stools and standing tables through store donations and Donor’s Choose projects.”
What do you hope your students take from their experience with you?
“I hope my students leave my classroom with a real passion and love for learning that will last a lifetime.”
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