The Van Andel Education Institute strives to be a place where teachers of all backgrounds are recognized and empowered. In the coming weeks, VAEI will further this mission by highlighting a number of exceptional educators on our official blog. You’ll hear from them about the latest challenges facing students today, and discover what methods they use to foster growth and ingenuity within their classroom. Today’s guest is Tammy Myers, a 4th grade teacher from Nixa, Missouri and the lead pilot of the inquiry-based Prevent the Spread project.
Tammy Myers has been a teacher at Nixa Public Schools since 2000. Ever since she was a child, Tammy dreamed of being a teacher, and despite years in the classroom she remains just as passionate about education now as she did in the second grade. Having graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education, she would later go on to earn her Masters from Lindenwood University. When not at school, Tammy enjoys spending her time with family and friends, reading, and serving at her church. On Saturdays you can usually find her at Busiek State Park riding her horse, Stormy.
How did you become involved in education?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher. I never wavered from it. I’m as passionate about it now as I was the day I started 19 years ago.
What do you believe are the greatest challenges facing students today?
One of the greatest challenges facing our students is the many distractions they deal with in any given day. There is pressure to fill every minute of the school day with rigorous instructional activity. In addition to that, when they get home their evening and weekends are filled with practices and/or sporting events. When they aren’t on the go, they spend prolonged amounts of time in front of video games and social media.
What tools have you found most useful for inspiring students to think critically and creatively?
Questioning and guided conversations in small groups.
How can parents assist students in developing curiosity and iterative thinking?
I think parents can develop curiosity in their children by putting their phones down. Encourage face to face conversations where they share experiences and possibilities through conversation.
What are you most passionate about?
I’m passionate about building relationships with my students. I want them to know they are loved and valued.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the positive relationships I build with students and their families to help them be successful.
What do you wish for each student?
I wish for all my students to know what it feels like to be loved and accepted for who they are.
How would you like to see education change in the next ten years?
I want education to be even more kid centered, academically and socially, with more supports in place for teachers to meet the high demands of doing just that.
“I loved that my students got to become scientific problem solvers and perform real-world experiments!” – Tammy Myers on Prevent the Spread
Germs lurk in every classroom, hidden in cracks and under crevices, just waiting to infect your poor little innocent students. It’s no joke: studies estimate that every year, 164 million days of school are lost to grim disease. Help your students fight back against these microscopic monsters with Prevent the Spread, a public-service project designed to make your school — and the world — a safer and healthier place!
Interested in learning how you can better impact the lives of students? Check out our webpage and stay tuned to meet more dynamic teachers!