Educator: Kimeon Cruikshank

Written by Luis Sanchez
18 January 2019
Posted in Educator Spotlight

I am a Kindergarten Teacher at CICS Prairie. 

I was coming back from having worked overseas for 5 years and I wanted to find a position in which I could continue to use my ESL and Early Childhood Experience. I also wanted to find a community that reflected my background as well. 

I come from a family of educators. My mother, grandmother, and aunts and cousins are teachers. It’s always been one of the most important things you can do even if it’s not the most respected position. I also decided that I wanted to be a solution to what I saw (as a student) were the problems in education.

Watching my students grow and change through the course of the school year. I love looking over their portfolios at the end of the year and reflecting with them. Also love the light you see when they finally understand a concept and they realize they can do something new. The realization that they have the ability to “make their brain grow” is the fuel we all use to get through the challenges together. 

Balancing. Trying to keep the academic both challenging and still engaging and fun. Kindergarten is a bridge between less structure and more informal learning into very structured and formally assessed learning.  Making sure that my students are excited to come to school and learn new concepts is very challenging when they aren’t used to the new environment and schedule.  Also, personally balancing work and family and managing all the demands from both sides is difficult. 

I’m currently working on moving to more flexible seating and more independent personalized learning. I’m trying to personalize learning in meaningful ways so that students own their learning and progress and are more intrinsically motivated, including conferencing around learning goals and also self-evaluation and reflection. 

That students will own their learning and feel like they know what they are learning and how they can get better and want to do it in ways that are best for them. 

Flexibility. Things are ever-changing in education and I have learned over these 15 years that you need to be able to bend and be open to new things. Learning never ends. 

Realize that your students will live up to your expectations. You have to believe that they are capable of doing more and hold them to it.  Also you need to be open and receptive to new things.  Learning is a process and you can always learn new things. One last thing is that “You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole.” All students don’t learn the same way and you need to find out the best way to support them in their learning. There is no one way to learn and you have to be willing to work with students to get them to understand the concepts in ways that THEY understand not always the way YOU want to teach. 

The way that education is viewed and valued in our community. Education isn’t just academic, it’s social emotional and we have to take a holistic view of our students. They come to school with complex challenges and seeing the whole child can lead to lasting relationships and shift trajectories if we’re willing to reach out. We need to believe that our schools are here to help our children with the best of intent. We need to believe that we can make the difference and reach both into and outside of our schools to build partnerships to support our children.  No finger pointing, just hands reaching out to help each other. No one wants our children to fail.

 

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