STEFANIE BRITT: Preparing Life-Long Learners

teacherThe key to Stefanie Britt’s success as a teacher at Stonewall Elementary can be summed up with a single word — motherhood.

Britt started her education career after five years at Valvoline in Lexington and then raising three children to school age. Since she started teaching, Britt connects with parents because she is one herself.

“I talk about my kids and how we are busy with homework and sports just like they are,” she said. “I tell them I know the questions they have because I was in their shoes when my kids started school.”

She also knows that many parents are as frightened of kindergarten as their children might be. Why? Because she was too.

“Nervous? You have no idea. We lived right around the corner from Stonewall, but when Matthew (her first child) got on the bus I followed it to school,” she said. “I know all the fears these parents have.”

That’s why she was determined — for 12 years as a kindergarten teacher — to make the first-school experience a good one for the whole family.

“I want to make sure the kids know this is a comfortable place,” she said. “I want their experience to be exciting so we can plant the seed for lifelong learning.”

After a dozen years in the kindergarten classroom, Britt is teaching second grade this school year. You’ll see an active class of little learners in her room, moving from station to station engaged with the many hands-on activities.

“We don’t do a lot of sitting in our class,” Britt said.

Britt takes many of the practices used in kindergarten and applies them to her new students. She knew they’d appreciate the same approach after listening to students pass by her kindergartners and say, “I wish we were still doing that.”

Listening and observing how the children respond to a classroom activity is crucial to Britt’s success. She remembers her own children’s comments about what excited and what bored them in school.

“Watching, listening, that’s where my responsibility as a teacher comes in,” she said.

Respect for Britt and her work is campus wide. “She holds herself to a very high standard,” Principal Bill Gatliff said. “Once families learn about her, they realize they are so blessed to have her as a teacher.”

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