Grantham’s struggle with subject as a student makes her more empathetic teacher, she says

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Most teachers aspire to teach their favorite subject but not Angela Grantham.

Grantham teaches English and language arts — the subjects she had trouble with most as a student.

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“ELA was more of a struggle to me as a child so I can relate more with them,” Grantham said.

The fourth grade teacher said mathematics was always the easiest subject for her in school, which is the precise reason why she didn’t want to teach it in class.

“Math comes really easy to me and something that comes really easy to me is harder to teach because I don’t see why they don’t get it,” Grantham said.

Grantham has taught at Redwood Elementary School for 20 years and has most enjoyed getting to know her students over the years.

“They’re all so different and all so unique,” Grantham said.

She has three classes of children a day and said her students do a lot of reading as well as innovative activities in class.

“We have several things that we do different to try to make it fun,” Grantham said.

Last week the students used YouTube to watch a video on a wordless picture book called “Journey,” by Aaron Becker. After the students watched the video, they wrote a story based on what they watched and what they thought the author was trying to express. She said the activity has the students using multiple skills.

“They tell their story the way they think it’s going,” Grantham said, adding some interpret the main character as a boy and others see a girl. “That is a lot of different skills they are meeting this week.”

She also uses rapping and singing exercises to teach her students fluency. By trying to match a person singing on a video, the children learn to increase the speed and articulation of their reading and speaking, which translates into their understanding of the material.

“They are trying to sing and rap the lyrics to the song — it’s really educational information. We did one on Thomas Jefferson,” Grantham said. “If they can’t read it fluently they can’t understand what they read.”

Becoming a teacher is not something Grantham thought about before she had a family, but when her children started school, she became interested in becoming a teacher.

“I started when my middle child was in kindergarten, and he is 25,” Grantham said. “All three of them went through Redwood.”

While she never taught any of her own children, she will have both of her grandchildren in her class.

“My granddaughter happens to be in my room now, and my grandson is in pre-K,” Grantham said. The Vicksburg native received her elementary education degree from Mississippi College.