Name: Emily Ream
Position: Second grade teacher at Central Elementary School
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Southern Nazarene University in 2007
Teaching Background: She taught fourth grade for one year in Oklahoma City and first grade for four years in Kansas City, in a district Ream says was very similar to District 39.
What inspired you to become an educator?
“It’s hard to remember, because since I was a child I was always playing school with my little brother. I was always drawn to education. My mom is a teacher, my grandma was a teacher, and so my family jokes that it’s in our blood. I think that the reason I chose to make a career out of it is that I feel really strongly about forming positive relationships with children. I feel like it’s really important to give back to future generations like that and be a positive force in their life. I felt like it was important to be an advocate for children… I get to work with kids in that transition of what school looks like and what expectations there are and working with the parents to guide them through difficult conversations about child development.”
What attracted you to District 39?
“I was really attracted to the similarities I saw between District 39 and the district that I was working in previously in Kansas City. I feel that it is really important to have a solid community, a parent community base where parents are involved, they’re volunteering and they’re present in their child’s education. Looking at districts from Kansas City, it was easy to find the Wilmette website. There were so many different resources online, so, even from outside, I was able to see all of the curriculum, I could access a lot of the professional development videos, and so I could tell that technology was a big piece of their foundation. That was definitely important to me.”
How would you describe your teaching technique?
“The foundation of my entire philosophy is to be a positive force in my students’ lives. I want them to trust me. I want them to know that our classroom is a safe space. I want it to feel nurturing for them so they feel the freedom and the confidence to be creative in here. I also believe in positive reinforcement, and I carry that over into my relationships with the parents also. I like parents to know that I have their child’s best interest at heart, and, whatever it takes, we’re going to meet the goals that we set together.”
Do you have any special program that you plan on implementing or a notable, upcoming project?
“As far as writer’s workshop goes, that is part of our daily routine in my classroom. We spend our 90 minute literacy block between independent reading, word work and writing. One of my favorite writer’s workshop projects that we do in the spring will be to look at Eric Carl. The Eric Carl unit is one of my favorite because we study his process of making his collage of illustrations. And then the children will actually use his process by painting different textures on paper and then cutting shapes and making a picture to go with the story. And their story will be similar to Eric Carl’s pattern of The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The children think of an animal and have very clear problem and solution for that animal for their story. And then that’s the illustration that they make using the collage technique.”
How have you liked your time in District 39 so far?
“It has been really amazing. I leave work and I’m in a great mood when I get home. I feel really lucky that I get the chance to do what I love to do and that I have such an awesome support team at school through the parents and administrators in the district. I feel really supported and excited about the visions I see for the future of Wilmette. I feel like I’m very aligned in my philosophy with Wilmette’s philosophy, in looking at students as an entire being. Not just learners and test takers, but looking at them socially, looking at them creatively. I fell like it’s been a great opportunity for me and I’m excited about where the rest of the year will go.”