03 Apr Teacher Spotlight: All Roads Lead to Teaching for Ms. Paula Hayden
School: Academie Lafayette
Grade level: 6th Grade ELA
Years teaching: two years
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting and Art History, Kansas City Art Institute; Master of Arts, History of Art, University of Kansas; Master of Education, Urban Education, Park University
What were you doing before you became a teacher? I was teaching college art history as a part-time adjunct and coordinating the education programs for the Arabia Steamboat Museum.
Why did you want to become a teacher? I realized that being an adjunct was, unfortunately, no type of way to make a living, but I loved being in the classroom. Meanwhile, my museum experience showed me that I connected with middle-school-aged kids. All of this, combined with my passion for literacy, had inspired me to research different paths to certification in middle school English when I heard a commercial for KCTR on 89.3 KCUR.
How is your second year of teaching going? So far my second year of teaching is leaps and bounds smoother than the first! And I love knowing that I am in a profession where I will always be learning and improving my craft.
What is the most rewarding part of being a teacher? The most rewarding part of being a 6th grade teacher is enjoying how kids really see the world through a different lens than adults. Also, they actually laugh at my ‘dad jokes.’
What advice would you give a new Resident who is just now beginning their journey towards becoming a teacher? Self-care is crucial. It is hard to fit this in with all of the guilt that you should always be working harder. However, when you are mindful of your own well-being, you will better be able to help little people with their emotions.
Do you enjoy living/working in KC? Why? I love KC! I always wanted to run away to San Francisco, but here I can actually afford to have fun on a teacher’s salary– and still enjoy incredible cuisine and arts.
Tell us about the community at your school. The community at AL is incredibly diverse. Because it is a French immersion school, our staff is recruited from all over the francophone world, including Senegal, Cameroon, Algeria, Martinique, and much more. And my co-workers encourage me to learn a little French every day!
How are your relationships with students? Families? One thing that has helped me build relationships is a new habit of sending three positive emails to three different parents each Friday. Students and families both appreciate getting positive communication from the teacher.