Michelle Palmer

Teton Elementary Kindergarten Teacher Michelle Palmer.

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Michelle Palmer

What school do you teach at?

Teton Elementary in Fremont County School District.

What department are you with and what classes do you teach?

I teach kindergarten.

How long have you been teaching in general? At the school you are at now?

I was a paraprofessional (aide) for seven years, then finished my degree last year and was able to get a teaching position at the same school I had been working at. This is my second year teaching.

What made you decide to be a teacher?

I started working at the school when my youngest child started kindergarten and I loved working with the kids. After a few years, I started working on my degree so that I could start teaching. I didn’t take my first college class until my oldest son was a senior in high school and it was really intimidating to start the process, but has been one of the most rewarding things I have done.

What do you enjoy about being a teacher?

I LOVE my job! love seeing kids get excited about learning and watching them make new discoveries and connections. I love watching them interact with one another and develop friendship and compassion for others. I love getting to share my love for numbers, books, and art. I get to sing, color, read, play, and have a good laugh every day with a classroom full of energetic littles- what better job could there be?

What are some challenges?

The biggest challenge I have faced so far has been when we transitioned to online learning this spring. It was hard to find a way to continue teaching in a way that was simple enough for 5 and 6-year-olds to handle while still pushing forward and teaching new ideas. I missed seeing my class every day. I think we all have a basic need for human interaction, and I could see that they were missing it as much as I was. School is such an important part of developing social skills and it was hard on everyone to feel cut off from it.

What is an experience you have had as a teacher that stands out to you?

It is amazing to see how accepting and kind children are by nature. We have had children with special needs in our classroom and no one sees them as being any different. They help one another without prompting or motive besides simply liking to see their classmates happy. I have seen my students take their gloves or boots off to let someone else be warm while they are cold themselves. I have seen children wipe away each other’s tears and help them tie their shoes so they don’t trip. I am shown daily that there is so much good in the world.

Why did you decide to teach at the school you are currently at?

I was able to get a job at the same school my own children attend. It is the same school I went to as a kid, so it is a pretty special place. We are a small k-5 school with just over 100 students, so we have the opportunity to really get to know all the kids.

What is something interesting about you most of your students don’t know?

I’m also a licensed cosmetologist and hung up my shears to be a teacher.

What are some things that are different in the education system now compared to when you first started teaching/when you were a student?

Since it’s only my second year, I’m still trying to figure out what is “normal,” when the last year has been anything but. Thank heavens for my awesome co-workers that have cheered me on and continue to help me be successful.