by Anne Mayes, Third Grade Teacher
“Say, who are the people in your neighborhood; the people that you meet each day?” Far more than a familiar refrain in the Sesame Street theme song, this broad question sparked an in-depth survey to explore some things you may be wondering about the educators at The Wilson School. After all, “it takes a village” to raise children, and they belong to and are shaped by their community. Due to its profound role in a child’s development, it makes sense to take a thorough look at the people who contribute to the Wilson community and influence your children’s daily experiences.
Educators at Wilson are committed to creating a vibrant and dependable atmosphere, both within and beyond the school. Most of the educators are from the region; these individuals know St. Louis well and are personally invested in its success. More significantly, educators at Wilson are devoted to the achievement of the school and its members. While there are a few newcomers, many of the faculty have taught here for more than a decade. Quite a few have taught at Wilson more than 20, even 30, years! Wilson teachers cannot deny their love for the school, and the consistency of their presence strengthens it immeasurably.
Not only are the teachers in each classroom confident and competent in their current roles, many of them have worked in other educational capacities as well, and these experiences allow them to see situations from a variety of perspectives. Several teachers have taught an array of grade levels, including at the secondary level and beyond. Additional experiences such as substitute teaching, camp counseling, tutoring, working as a gifted enrichment specialist or as a parent educator, have challenged the teachers to develop “big picture” views that are dynamic and realistic. In yet another way the educators expand their views of the Wilson experience, several currently have or have previously had children at Wilson, and this helps them relate to the experiences of their students and families.
The educators at Wilson are inspired, and they seek to inspire others accordingly. Several grew up with mothers who taught and motivated them to pursue careers in teaching. Other sources of inspiration included being passionate about learning, wanting to see that “aha” moment, and a genuine love for children. Wilson educators were fortunate to have great teachers and mentors who left lasting impressions. Their favorite teachers, collectively, were those who took an interest in, encouraged, and supported them. These individuals served to guide them to become lifelong students and self-advocates. They were caring, gentle, and positive; firm and fair; lively, full of humor, and authentic. They modeled excellent work ethics and habits and are credited for helping the educators at Wilson tap into their own potential and creativity, feel confident, and develop their inner voices. Uniqueness was celebrated and championed, and the Wilson educators teach each day with these role models and lessons in mind.
To promote the success of the community as a whole, there are myriad ways Wilson teachers share their talents, develop their passions, and perfect their crafts. They have experience instructing watersports, including kayaking, rowing, and canoeing. They coach and play sports such as water polo, soccer, volleyball, softball, bowling, and even ultimate frisbee. They are leaders of school activities such as Girls on the Run, Let Me Run, and Destination Imagination. They’ve founded professional learning communities; volunteered time with voting leagues; led math clubs and judged debate teams. They are active members in churches, handbell choirs, and local bands. The list herein just scrapes the surface of what educators do during their active time, and it is important to consider how they spend their “free time” as well.
When it comes to downtime, the Wilson crew has many similar interests. They love to be outdoors and feel most alive when they connect with nature, whether through hiking, running, backpacking, or camping. They tend gardens, cook, and spend time with family. They like to be productive and pursue learning even during their spare time. This energy for learning extends to raising chickens, visiting museums and galleries, attending music festivals, reading, and competing in trivia events. Traveling is a common goal or interest, and many educators relate this to their goal to learn about the culture of another area or group of people. They truly seek to experience life through another’s perspective and constantly investigate ways to expand their own mindsets and attitudes.
As a whole, the survey results ultimately prove that this group of educators is active and devoted, both within and outside the classroom. Despite their impressive backgrounds and achievements, they are reluctant to boast about their accomplishments. They are much more comfortable focusing on their goals and continual efforts to reach them. While they are bashful in describing their own strengths, their friends agree that they are interesting, loyal, funny, and delightfully unique.
Fred M. Roger’s 1967 song “Did You Know?” expresses this:
“You can ask a lot of questions about the world… And your place in it.
You can ask about people's feelings; You can learn the sky's the limit.
Did you know when you wonder you’re learning?
Did you know when you marvel you’re learning
About all kinds of… wonderful things?”
In closing, Wilson educators articulate they are grateful to have a job that they love and to be part of The Wilson School community. Asking a few questions and wondering about their personal journeys made it possible to discover some of the impressive things they have done and continue to do each day, and these are the experiences that contribute to how they make a significant difference in the lives of the Wilson students.
Wilson in the News