Cara Henson | Cotteral Elementary
Teaching is amazing. Teachers are magical. And hanging with Cara Henson in her classroom confirmed both. It was fun watching her interact with her students. She had their full attention as she asked questions. They would all respond with great energy and excitement. Cara was named Teacher of the Year for Cotteral. I can see why. You can get a little of Cara's story and her thoughts as you continue to read.
What's your name?
Where do you teach?
I teach at Cotteral Elementary.
How long have you been teaching?
What grade do you teach?
What is your super power to be able to rock out the work you do?
I love being silly and crazy with my kids! I mean this is Kindergarten. You can't be a stick in the mud! Kids love excitement and they love to laugh. I find the more exciting and dramatic I am while teaching the more engaged they are. Sometimes I make a mistake on purpose to see if they catch it, I love when they say, "Mrs. Henson that isn't right!" Then I act shocked that I made a mistake! We definitely have fun, although when it's time to get serious, we get serious.
What made you want to teach?
I always knew I wanted to educate kids on how people are different and not one person is exactly alike. Growing up, it was usually kids that were younger than I was calling me names because I was little. I knew deep down they just didn't know about little people. I knew if I became a teacher to children at a young age, they would become educated and more aware about people with differences and go on with life knowing that it's okay to be different. My hopes are that one day when my students see someone that is different, they don't stare or point, they just smile and say hello.
What gets you up everyday to go give your all to teaching?
Definitely my kindergarten students! We have a great routine established in class, they do not adjust well when our routine is altered. I look forward to the hugs, smiles, and interesting stories they might tell me in the morning during our circle time! :)
If you could change one thing about education, what would you change?
I would change all of the mandated testing through the state. It makes me sad to see such young children have to take a test on the computer, it's so stressful for them. I wish the state would listen more to the teachers on what the child knows or doesn't know instead of just looking at a score from a computer test.
What is one tip you would share to be a successful teacher?
Have fun and make an impact!
What would you do if you were not teaching?
I would be a Counselor for children and teens.
The last time you cried at the end of the day teaching was because of what?
A little girl in my class received a brand new winter coat, shoes, gloves, and a hat from the Kiwanis Club. The look on her face was so precious, she was so excited and couldn't believe they were all for her. I wasn't crying, but my eyes were definitely watering from seeing her reaction. It was a very sweet moment.
Who inspires you in your work and why?
My Kindergarten students! There is never a dull moment with 22 kindergarten students in one room! They make me laugh and they make me want to be a better person. Teachers and students spend more time together in one school day, then they do at home with their family. I tell my students all the time that, "We are a family too".
How would you describe a conversation with one of your students?
The majority of the time I would describe it as hilarious! You never know what you are going to get. Here is one I had recently: "Mrs. Henson I had a dream about you". "Oh my gosh really what was it about?" "It was about you being Super Woman and Dr. White was trying to freeze you and you used your golden lasso and caught him". I seriously love this age!!!!
What is it that the world does not know about teachers?
Teaching is much more than a job, we aren't just teaching our students what they need to learn. Some days we are doctors determining if they are sick or need help with a band-aide. Sometimes I am a friend that wipes tears away and reminds them that tomorrow is a new day. I am a referee throughout the school day, I encourage my students every day to be who they want to be and make good choices. I encourage them to be a good friend, always be polite and respectful. I am not just getting them ready for the school year ahead, I am getting them ready to face life with their head held high.
Share your biggest joy teaching as of today?
When I run into previous students and they tell me how much they miss me being their teacher and how much fun they had in my class. I remember all of my teachers I had here in Guthrie, so it means a lot that I am making the same impact that my teachers did for me.
One thing that makes you smile?
Give me a name and school of another teacher I should interview that doesn't teach at your school.
Sandy Onley-2nd grade Fogarty