Reading, writing teacher says each year brings new trials

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Teacher Amy Sullivan sees the classroom as an ever-changing challenge that she has readily accepted.

“I love the challenge of it,” Sullivan said of her job as the fifth grade reading, writing and language teacher at Bovina Elementary School. “It’s a fun challenge.”

The classroom is a place where she is pushed to do her best to impart knowledge on the students, and each year brings new trials, she said. Whether it is behavioral problems or comprehension issues, the lessons are modified from year to year. This year she said her class is very smart.

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“My challenge this year is going to be to push them farther and higher than they would be pushed otherwise — to go above and beyond because they are a really smart group,” Sullivan said.

She makes sure to use different subject matter in her lessons by integrate a little science and social studies into her class sometimes. Her main focus for her class this year is to write more and to polish that writing better. As for reading, she has a small library in her class full of books donated by her father.

“Every kid is allowed to check out books, and we are reading constantly,” Sullivan said.

She has taught fifth grade reading, writing and language at Bovina for the past three years. Before moving to Bovina, Sullivan taught third grade for three years at Warrenton Elementary. When the opportunity to teach older students became available, she jumped at the chance.

“I thought I would enjoy older kids, the material, and I did. I just fell in love with it,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan is enjoying having older students because they are young enough to still love school and want to draw pictures for her, but they are old enough to learn more challenging lessons, she said.

“I was really excited. I went into it thinking good things. It was just so much fun the whole time. It’s the perfect age,” Sullivan said.

As a Leader in Me School, Sullivan said the students focus a lot on goals — personally and academically. Every students sets their own goals and measures their progress.

“Our whole school’s focus is pushing the kids to reach their goal,” Sullivan said. “Every week we go through and look at our leadership binders and see how much farther we have to go to reach our goal.”

Growing up, she had goals of being an artist, but she never felt those aspirations were realistic. Instead she pursued her second dream of becoming an educator. A profession she used to pretend to hold as a child.

“I would give my neighbor kids homework when we played school,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan attended Hinds Community College and Mississippi State University to earn her degree in elementary education. She is very happy with her decision to be a teacher because there are new obstacles to overcome everyday.

“That’s what I love about it — it’s always changing and it’s always challenging,” Sullivan said.