D39's New Teachers: Katherine Porter, Third Grade at Romona Elementary

A series interviewing District 39's new teachers to help you get better acquainted with these additions to the Wilmette community.

Name: Katherine Porter

Position: Third grade teacher at Romona Elementary School

Hometown: Wilmette, IL

Age: 28

Education: She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Indiana University at Bloomington and a Masters of Education in Social Policy.

Teaching Background: Porter was a student teacher in a third grade classroom at LaSalle Language Academy in the Chicago Public School system.

So you’re from the area?

“Yeah, I grew up in the district and I went to McKenzie [Elementary School] and all the levels of education that we have in Wilmette. And then I went to New Trier, as well. It is very strange. I’m not quite at the point where my students would be potential students of my former classmates. That will be interesting, because when you go through a good district, you want to have the same for your children. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people who grew up in Wilmette eventually move back to the area. It’s good, though.”

What inspired you to become an educator?

I did finance for a number of years after I graduated [from Indiana University]. I came into education after a number of years in finance. I was reflecting on what I wanted to do and I had always really loved working with kids. I had done a number of volunteer activities through the company that I worked for in finance and they always involved kids. I decided at that point that I should have become a teacher, so I went back to school and that’s when I got my masters in education. I just love working with kids and being in an educational environment. It was so much more fulfilling to me than finance was.”

What attracted you to District 39?

“I think that my elementary and junior high education experiences were very fulfilling. I appreciate now, looking back, the education that I had. I didn’t know it at the time. But when you leave and you have this great set of skills, academic skills, but also those life skills that you need. How to solve a problem. How to work with others. I think that is very valuable and I wanted to be a part of that again.”

How would you describe your teaching technique?

“My general teaching philosophy is that children learn through doing and through making mistakes. I think that even adults learn best from doing and then making mistake and then learning from that mistake. I think it’s about the children having this curiosity to learn something, being the guide or facilitator to help them learn it, but then letting them figure it out along the way. Really helping them choose their own direction in how they figure things out.”

Do you have any special program that you plan on implementing or a notable, upcoming project?

“We kicked off the year studying fairy tales in our reading unit. The kids have been learning about the different types of fairy tales and what the elements of a fairy tale are. Now that they have some basic knowledge of fairy tales, they’re going to be writing letters to each other as different fairy tale characters. So, a letter from Little Red Riding Hood to Humpty Dumpty or a letter from Cinderella to the Big Bad Wolf. It’s going to be interesting to see how creative the kids can get with these and how they can apply the knowledge they have about fairy tales.”

How have you liked your time in District 39 so far?

“It has been really great. The other teachers and the whole educational community here, at Romona and in Wilmette, has been extremely supportive. I am constantly working to utilize the resources here and make the best experience I can. Everyone has been really helpful with questions and support to help create a good classroom environment and a good academic start for the kids.”

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