Elyse Greenberg teaches kindergarten at Donaldson Elementary. This is her sixth year teaching, and she works hard to make sure her young pupils leave her classroom with the skills they need for a bright academic future.
“Kindergarten is the first opportunity to instill a love of learning,” says Greenberg. It is also a year for a lot of growth.
“People often think that kindergarten is easy because the kids are young and cute,” she says. “I think it’s harder because we are covering so many firsts.”
Greenberg explains that the day-to-day school tasks that people take for granted are brand new concepts for most kindergartners—things like lining up, holding a pencil, identifying and learning to write their name, and even sitting on the carpet attentively.
Another important step in setting a solid foundation for learning is building classroom relationships, says Greenberg. She strives for an atmosphere where students will genuinely care for each other, as well as respect each other and their teacher.
Vincent nominated his former teacher. He reports that besides math and reading, Greenberg taught him and fellow classmates how to be nice to each other. Vincent adds that he will miss his kindergarten teacher as he moves on to first grade.
Greenberg is a Tucson native who received her bachelor’s in elementary education from the UofA. While she worked on her master’s from NAU, she was a substitute teacher in Amphi. She says she fell in love with the district. She appreciates the sense of family that Amphi fosters, and says that being in the district has helped her to “really grow as a teacher.”
In her free time, Greenberg likes to travel, hang out with friends and family, attend UofA basketball games and do crafty things (a lot of the crafts are for her classroom). She also really loves to bake, she says, and she makes great chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cakes.
Greenberg used to dance as a youngster, taking classes in jazz, tap, and ballet. But even then she knew she wanted to be a teacher. “From the time I was a very little girl, I always gravitated toward (teaching),” she says. “There was nothing else I wanted to do.”
These days, her students remind her that she made the right choice. When surrounded by her young pupils, “you almost feel like a celebrity,” Greenberg reports. “They make me laugh every day with what they say, what they do and some of their mannerisms.”