At What School Do You Currently Work?
Myra Terwilliger Elementary School
What Grade/Age Do You Teach?
First grade through fifth grade
How Long Have You Been a Teacher?
I’ve been at Terwilliger since 2010. I served as the behavior resource teacher’s aide for one year and then as the guidance clerical secretary for one year while I completed my teaching certification.
What Is Your Favorite Book?
The Giving Tree. I have a tattoo of The Giving Tree with my niece and nephew’s names.
What subject do you teach?
I teach gifted science, and I co-teach Title 1 English/language arts. I’m also the safety patrol sponsor, the school site tech and robotics club sponsor. I oversee a student leadership and mentoring program called Hogtown Heroes for third through fifth grade students. I’m a huge advocate for building positive relationships amongst students, strengthening leadership skills and promoting good citizenship and pride in our school and community.
Why were you inspired to teach?
Both of my parents were teachers in Alachua County. My mom, Ann Amos, taught for 30 years at J.J. Finley Elementary, and my dad, Allen Amos, taught for 35 years mostly at Kimball Wiles Elementary. My sister, Shelley Amos, is also a teacher, first in middle school and now college. I fought the calling for a long time, which is why my degree is in political science, but eventually I realized teaching was just a part of me and my DNA. I knew I’d never get rich as a teacher, but I also knew I’d always be happy and fulfilled knowing I am making a difference. My parents modeled that joy and love for their students over the years and always taught me that happiness is not found in monetary riches.
What is your favorite part of the school day?
I think all teachers love when their students have an “Aha!” moment – that light bulb that shines as they begin to understand the material. Truthfully, the best part of any day is when I see a student who is genuinely excited to be at school. They’re pumped up and ready to learn. That’s more invigorating than Starbucks or Mountain Dew. (Yes, I love my caffeine!)
Do you have a favorite assignment/ project that you typically assign your students?
Teaching gifted students gives me a lot of flexibility with how I present the curriculum and the way I cover the science standards. Planning hands-on investigations are the best part of teaching science because the students get to take responsibility for what they learn. I just give them the right tools and a nudge in the right direction. I also love being able to teach students how to research online, find credible information and then create PowerPoint presentations.
How do you wind down from a long day of teaching?
I have three dogs that I love to spend time with after school. I also like to paint and do projects. And naps, of course -lots of naps.
What do you like to do outside of the classroom?
I like to travel and spend time with my family and friends.
If you were a superhero, who would you be?
I’d have to say Batman. I like the notion of taking a dark or difficult past and turning that experience into something positive.
What is something fun you did on summer vacation?
Because of the three dogs, I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like to, but I do enjoy visiting my niece and nephews in Vero Beach and taking short trips to Disney or SeaWorld.
Share a funny teaching moment/day
The best story I have is when my classroom snake Beaker escaped. I was unaware of his escape -at first. I came into school over winter break and it was rather cold. When I went to print a document, I got an error message. I assumed the printer needed paper, so I pulled out the drawer and Beaker was curled up INSIDE the printer! Logically, I knew it was the class pet and not a random snake, but I still jumped back about 10 feet when I saw him. Since he was away from his heating pad, I think he was seeking a warm place to hang out.
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