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Toni H, is a small town girl and a teacher. New 6th Grade teacher, Toni H sat down with me and answered a few questions. I wanted to interview Toni H. because she wanted to be a teacher when she was younger, and she has never lost sight of that goal. She has raised a family and gone through her position being cut and going into substitute teaching, then returning as a full time teacher.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a mother and a teacher.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a very small town named Grover. It’s about twenty miles southwest of Watertown, SD. Very few people have heard of it, so I tell them I am from Watertown, since that’s where I graduated from high school.
What school did you attend for teaching?
I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Southwest State University in Marshall, MN.
Why did you leave Elkton School?
My position was cut.
How did it feel to be on the school board after you left?
Being on the school board was an unbelievable opportunity. I felt that since I was an educator and mom of four children in the district, I was well qualified to be on the board. It’s an experience that all people should try.
Was it hard to be a mom of four and still be teaching?
As with any career, working outside the home and being a parent is a constant juggling of time and energy.
How does it feel to be teaching with your own kid in your class?
I guess, I treat all of my students the same, no matter if my child is in the class or not.
How has the full-time teaching affected your home life?
Going back to teaching full-time has definitely been an adjustment for me. One thing that I loved about substitute teaching was the flexibility that it allowed. I love teaching, and I think it shows in my classroom; however, this year, I feel like a first year teacher again, but I’m not twenty-two anymore!
Do you like being in the proximity of your kids while teaching?
I love teaching in the same school that my children go to. I get to see them throughout the day, and I am more informed about what is going on in their lives.
Do you find it hard to find time for your kids?
No, I don’t find it hard to make time for my kids. Both my husband and I have our children as a priority in our lives, even if it means sacrificing some of our personal time.
Did you ever think you would be back here in Elkton after all this time?
To be very honest with you, no I didn’t think that I would ever be back teaching full-time anywhere. I loved substitute teaching, and I was very satisfied with my life. I even gave away a lot of my teaching materials! One day though, when I was praying, I told God that I was willing to do whatever He needed me to do. The next day, someone told me that he/she had heard that the sixth grade position was going to maybe be available in Elkton!
Did you like substitute teaching or full-time teaching better?
I can’t say that I liked substitute teaching or full-time teaching better. Both jobs have positive and negative aspects. The one thing that I missed terribly when I was subbing was the bond that is formed between students and a teacher. That bond can’t be created when you are a substitute teacher.
What atmosphere did you like the most when substitute teaching?
I mainly substituted at the middle school in Brookings. I loved the kids and staff there.
Do you feel like you’re inspiring kids by teaching?
I hope that I inspire my students. I know that I have always felt that being a teacher is a calling for me. I have always believed that I am in the career that God chose for me.