My name is Naomi W. Randolph. I co-teach Kindergarten with Alexandra Savvas in an independent school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Our school is committed to a college preparatory curriculum in a co-educational environment that tries to emphasize art, music and drama. Simultaneously, the school mission and philosophy recognizes the responsibility to develop good character, standards of conduct and a sense of social responsibility within the school community.
I have been teaching here for a total of seven years. I have my BA in English from Macalester College and am about to complete the Masters program for Early Childhood at the City College of New York.
My first two years teaching were right out of undergraduate school. I was invited to teach as an assistant teacher for our school's Pre-K program. The following year, I was asked to move to the K program which allowed me to observe seven of the children that I had just taught in Pre-K. It was an incredible experience but I was afraid to commit and left the profession to work in the corporate world. In the following years, I worked as a paralegal, an administrative assistant and did computer technical support. This hiatus from teaching lasted three years, at which point, I realized that working behind a desk was not enough for me. I wanted and needed to work with children. Nothing else, since then, had given my life such meaning and significance.
In September of 2003, I returned to teaching and immediately enrolled in a Masters program for Early Childhood. I knew it would not be easy to work full-time and go to school but I was up for the challenge and a challenge it has been. Last year, my school invited me to work as a head teacher alongside Alexandra in a K classroom and together we have created an amazing learning-ready class environment.
I have learned to measure success by their ability to make connections to real life experiences, problem solve, and take risks. I have learned to listen for success in the sound of their laughter, the noise of their play, the words of respect that they share with one another and their voices as one, in song. I have learned that teaching is about demonstrating a love for learning and a willingness to make mistakes. I have learned that teaching is not about being in control but giving over to those moments of learning and understanding that occur at the most random times. I have learned that teaching is about recognizing that it is not always about what I want them to learn but what they do learn. Most important, I have learned that I have not learned it all.
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