Dean says teaching isn’t a job, it’s a calling

Published 11:37 am Tuesday, September 1, 2015

For Dana Road preschool teacher Rachel Dean, her job isn’t just a paycheck. It’s a calling.

“We are not just teachers,” she said. “We are caregivers, nurses, counselors, comedians and role models. Every child in my classroom holds a special place in my heart.”

Dean started teaching six years ago at Dana Road Elementary where she has taught pre-k ever since.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher my entire life,” she said. “When I was young it was because I wanted to draw on the chalkboard,” she said. “Now I don’t even have one.”

Dean said she never considered any other career.

“You know, growing up you have those teachers who inspire you and you want to be like them,” she said. “I wanted to be like my teachers.”

One of the things Dean likes about teaching pre-k is the impact she is able to make on her students.

“I know they’re only 4, but they remember me; they really do,” she said. “They come and visit me all the time. The whole reason I wanted to be a teacher is to make a difference in a child’s life.”

Dean said she develops relationships with her students and with their parents as well.

“You become like a family, really,” she said. “That’s the most important thing to me.”

In Dean’s class, students learn letters and letter sounds and some basic math skills like addition and subtraction.

“We do a lot of what kindergarten does just because they’ve upped their standards so high for kindergarten that we have to step it up for preschool,” she said. “We don’t get to play all day like people think.”

Dean said her students are currently working on how to hold their pencils and write their first and last names.

Dean said her classroom mission statement is “learning, loving and growing together.”

When Dean isn’t at school, you can probably find her in the gym.

“I’m in the gym six days a week. Friday is my only day off,” she said. “I used to do nothing but cardio, but now I’m into the weight training.”

Dean said her husband Mason also spends a lot of time at the gym. The couple has two daughters, Raegan, 4, and Avery, 1.

Dean said she’s around 4-year-olds all day long and she doesn’t stop teaching when she leaves work.

“I read to Raegan every night,” she said. “I’ve printed name papers for her to trace and write her name at home, so she does one of those every day.”