Heather Walker teaches fifth grade at Acacia Elementary School. She is new to the school, but has been teaching for two years. Walker says she caught the teaching bug when she was working as a substitute teacher.
As a long-term substitute, she really enjoyed getting to know the students, Walker explains, so she decided it was time to get her certification. She still sees interaction with students as the best part of her job.
“I love the students. I love getting to know them, not just in class, but getting to know their personalities,” Walker says.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Walker moved to Arizona nine years ago when her husband was assigned to work here with the Border Patrol. She has lived in Tucson for four years.
Walker was nominated for Teacher of the Month by student Ally. “My teacher is so awesome because she is so nice,” writes Ally. “She always makes us laugh and she always makes everything fun.”
Keeping an upbeat atmosphere in the classroom is a matter of setting expectations from the beginning, according to Walker. “My expectations were known from day one,” she says, explaining that students can have fun as long as they are getting their work done. “Every day is pretty fun,” she says. “I have a lot of funny kids in my class.”
When she is not in class, Walker likes to travel, bake, read, go to the movies and spend time with her family. She has two kids, and says her family likes to go to see superhero movies.
When she was in school, her favor- ite subjects were reading and English Language Arts. Those are her favorite subjects to teach, too. She says she likes to read the book “Wonder” with students to see the kids make connec- tions with the different characters.
Walker’s advice for students is for them to be persistent. “Everybody struggles with something,” she says.
The trick is to remember that struggling with a subject is how you make new connections in your brain. You will eventually turn the corner if you can be persistent, Walker believes.
“Seeing them (students) succeed makes me feel good,” says Walker.
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