I am grateful to have had the opportunity to interview two of the most wonderful teachers in Colorado, Mrs. Debra Bisant a Pre-School teacher of Prizm Academy in Littleton, CO; and Ms. Lila Stevens a Sociology Professor at the Aurora Community College in Aurora, CO. I found their information and their answers to be very intriguing and motivating. I am definitely hoping to one day be able to work along side excellent educators such as these two enthusiastic ladies.
Mrs. Bisant’s, or Mrs. Debbie as the children call her, motivation for teaching education began after she started to receive positive feedback from her home day-care job. She started to develop relationships with the children in her care and the wonderful feelings she would receive when a parent or child would give her a positive comment. She enjoyed not being in an office environment where her daily duties remained the same. The education environment was and has always been unpredictable.
Ms. Stevens’ motivation was found when a friend came up to her and asked her for her resume. Her friend was very interested in the fact that Lila had worked as a research assistant for Guggenheim and thought that she would be a wonderful instructor. Her friend ended up sending in her resume and getting Lila the job. Little did she know that one day she would make an excellent instructor.
Mrs. Bisant’s says that the only real disadvantage that she has encountered was the pay that educators receive. She feels that the pay should be raised for the hard work that teachers put in for their students. The advantages of the profession would be the relationships that she has developed with students, parents, and co-educators. She loves the children and the educational environment. She also loves the fact that she can be a big kid too. She stated, “Kids are refreshing to the soul.”
Ms. Stevens say s that the disadvantages and advantages of the profession has been academic freedom. She feels that the advantage of academic freedom allows her students to be challenged and stimulated, however, when she has to motivate her students to achieve academic freedom than it is very sad. She doesn’t like to see young people to defy themselves in order to prove a point.
Mrs. Bisants’ philosophy is that she believes that any child can learn and all of them have potential beyond our own scope. She feels that she is not a teacher but a facilitator. Her style is to find out what the children are interested in so that they can have plenty of fun while learning. She believes that every child is from God and that He loves the child more than we ever could. This helps her to realize how special each and every individual child truly is. She also considers herself to be a disciplinary. She doesn’t want children to think that they can take advantage of her; I found that this has helped her to maintain a productive classroom environment.
Mrs. Stevens’ style of teaching is very relaxed and open. Her students enjoy sharing their feelings during conversations and debates. She makes it very important for her students to understand, appreciate, and accept each other’s opinions and beliefs.
Mrs. Bisant’s classroom environment is very inviting, enchanting, fun, and carefree. A wonderful sense of happiness and cheerfulness is spread throughout the room with bright colors, ABC’s, little red tables, toys, children’s paintings, and numbers. The children are all well-behaved and great listeners.
Ms. Stevens’ classroom environment is very relaxed and a place for healing. She told me about three ladies in her class who all were molested as children. She said that her classroom was the first time that the women had spoken outside of therapy or had never spoken at all about the situations. She said that everyone was very open and honest and provided a sense of trust to their fellow classmates. This is how she likes her classroom to be so that her students feel comfortable being there.
Mrs. Bisant started her teaching experience in home daycare for seven years. She then became a teacher’s aide at an elementary school for five years. Here she was able to interact with the teachers and work right alongside them. She participated in discussion and reading groups and had other interactions with the students. After her teacher’s aide experience she became a substitute teacher for special-ed students for one year, she really enjoyed doing that. Her current position is teaching pre-schoolers which she has done for the past three years.
Ms. Stevens has been a counselor for 20 years in case management. She has worked with people with substance abuse, victimization, brain injuries, and foster care. She worked on a research project with Guggenheim for White Southern Violence. This lasted for eight years. She helped find out the truth of Willie Earl Letchen an African-American that was lynched by 80 cab drivers who were all found not guilty after a long trial. His family never knew the truth about what happened to him until the research was concluded. Students from DU raised money to buy him a tombstone for his unmarked grave. Now she is currently a professor of Sociology at the Community College of Aurora.
In the future Mrs. Bisant wants to be an elementary school teacher in the primary grades of K-2nd somewhere in the metro area. Ms. Stevens would like to be retired with a hot pink Yamaha and have grandbabies on the back riding along with her.
Mrs. Bisant’s greatest challenges have been wondering if she is keeping the kids challenged enough and if she is keeping up with the different levels of her students. Ms. Stevens’ greatest challenges have been teaching others to forgive and attain inner peace within their self.
The advice that Mrs. Bisant gave to me regarding becoming a new teacher is to always keep it simple and make teaching fun and interesting. She said to never overdue it. Ms. Steven’s advice to me was patience and finding my own comfort zone. She says that it is very important to feel comfortable with myself and to relax while teaching.
The greatest reward that Mrs. Bisant has received has been developing relationships with her kids and their parents. Others rewards has been seeing her children grow up and mature. She explains when she told her student Jake to always use “good words” instead of pushing, shoving, or taking toys away from others. One day Jake came up to her excited because he had used his “good words” on his own and he received a positive response from doing so. This made her very proud and made her feel as if she was helping her children to grow up.
Ms. Stevens’ greatest rewards have been being named “Faculty of the Year” and being nominated five times for the same title. However, the biggest reward she has received is being called Mom and she expecting to receive an even bigger reward soon by being called Grandma.
I learned that teaching is not always easy but it can be fun. Motivating and taking care of children is a reward that cannot be measured. I learned that it is a special feeling helping children grow up and become mature adults. Both of these teachers showed me that hard work and dedication does pay off in the long run. I look forward to my teaching career. I am very grateful to have had an opportunity to learn from some of the best.