Peggy Whiting has been teaching at Scott Libby Elementary for over 30 years. When she was young, Whiting says she knew she wanted to be a teacher and to have a big family. She found her career and also an extended family at Scott Libby.
Whiting has a large family outside of school—she and her husband have five children and 10 grandchildren. She also has developed deep family roots at her school. She references a note she received from one of her students.
“The student mentions that I was her dad’s teacher when he was in fourth grade,” reflects Whiting. “It makes her feel special that she has the same teacher that her dad had. There is usually at least one student every year in my class that is a sibling or a child of a student I have taught in previous years.”
Whiting appreciates seeing new siblings and even new generations of students each year. She says she almost feels an obligaton to keep teaching for kids who are looking forward to being in her classroom, and she feels honored by the trust families put in her to teach their kids.
Besides these ties and her dedication to students, Whiting says her job keeps her engaged because it changes each year—new students, new standards and new methods make every year feel new, she explains.
Whiting teaches a multi-age class with first-, second- and third-graders. She says that kids who might remain shy within a group of peers really come out of their shells in this format—by the time they reach third grade they are helpers and role models to younger students.
When she is not in class, Whiting enjoys reading, hiking and spending time with her husband and four dogs. Preparing for class and keeping students engaged during online lessons (sometimes puppets get in on the act!) keeps her plenty busy these days.
Whiting credits her father, a former elementary school and K–8 school principal, with supporting her thoughout her teaching career. Her dad has always been a cheerleader for her, she says.
“I am passionate about teaching. I try to make learning as fun and concrete as possible, because I feel like kids learn better that way,” says Whiting. “When they enjoy what they’re doing, and have an emotional connection to it, they remember.”