What career path can lead to National Teacher of the Year?

Posted by Ronald | April 5, 2013  |  No Comment

As an avenue to inform the public, particularly students, of career paths for successful employment, The Holmes Education Post continues its segment of interviewing professionals in different fields. Our distinguished interviewee is Ms. Kimberly Oliver Burnim, a National Teacher of the Year recipient in 2006 while with Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, Md. An excerpt of the interview with Burnim follows:

What career path led to your profession?

I followed a traditional career path to become a teacher. I was an elementary education major in college and pursued a Masters in education immediately after undergraduate. While in graduate school, I was a substitute teacher for my local school district and then became an assistant teacher at a private Montessori school. Finally, I secured my first teaching position in Montgomery County Public Schools and was assigned my very own kindergarten classroom. After teaching for several years, I became a National Board Certified Teacher and the National Teacher of the Year. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to hone my teaching craft and become an education curriculum advisor as well.

What educational background and/or professional training are essential for the teaching profession?

A teaching license is needed to enter the profession, and this can be achieved in a variety of ways. Above and beyond the license, the teaching profession needs dedicated, passionate individuals who are willing to give their all to students every day. A teacher has to know how to teach, what to teach and who she teaches.

What influenced you to pursue a career as a teacher?

I have always enjoyed going to school ever since I was in daycare! I used to pretend to be my favorite daycare teacher while I taught all my stuffed animals and dolls everything I knew. I chose to teach and continue to teach because I love being able to motivate, inspire and make a difference in the lives of children each and every day.

What advice do you give to students who desire to pursue a career as a teacher?

“Go for it!” Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world because parents trust teachers with their most precious possessions in life, their children. It is an honor and a privilege to be a teacher. It requires hard work, but it is worth it.

What professional, civic, or community organizations do you belong?

I am on the Board of Directors for The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and The NEA Foundation. I am a member of the National Association for the Education of the Young Child, the International Reading Association and the National Education Association.

What is your job description/ and or typical work day?

I currently work with students who need additional support in reading. I prepare and teach customized reading lessons to small groups of students throughout the day. I also help teachers find ways to support their struggling readers in the classroom.

How do you use the online educational learning tool in the classroom developed by Age of Learning, Inc.?

ABCmouse.com is a wonderful resource that I use in my classroom. I use the website to support my kindergarten students with learning foundational skills like letter and sound recognition. Sometimes I use this tool to introduce a new concept to my students because it immediately gets them engaged and excited about learning. Other times, I use it to help reinforce learned concepts, allowing the students time for independent practice. No matter how I decide to incorporate the website, I know my students are learning and having fun.

Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of three books, “Education Questions to be Answered,” “Current Issues and Answers in Education” and “How to Eradicate Hazing.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper. Holmes is the national superintendent of education for the National Save the Family Now Movement, Inc., a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]

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