"I put a lot of pressure on myself to teach the children the things they need to know to be successful in life," says Julie Smith, a second grade teacher at Halcyon Elementary. She says she loves her job because she enjoys seeing students come in with a set of skills and build upon them all year long.
Principal Pam Morgan says, "I think she looks at them (students) individually; and then she adjusts her curriculum around their needs. It may be extending the curriculum for a child that's an overachiever; it may be remediating a child that's having difficulty."
Second graders aren't the only people who are learning by being in Smith's classroom. Future teacher Bobbie-Ann Thames is picking up tips for when she heads a class. "She's very skilled at being able to elicit their attention and their active involvement in classroom activities. So that's a good thing to be able to learn that from somebody who has many years of experience," says Thames.
Smith gets high marks from her colleagues, for her actions away from academics. Each year she helps with a second grade sleep over at Halcyon. "We make it into a read-a-thon where children have to read a minimum number of books and have to raise a minimum amount of money; and we use that money towards paying off the food and that kind of thing, then the rest of it goes towards second grade materials," Smith says.
Smith chairs Halcyon's committee seeking accreditation and heads the school's budget committee. She's also active in the choir and orchestra at her church.