Asbury Educator of the Month – Becky Wood

Maybe Becky Wood’s first grade students at Cassidy Elementary love her because she’s patient and nurturing, uses hands-on manipulatives and encourages movement in the classroom. Or maybe it’s because she’s flexible, prefers kindness to threats, accepts mess and welcomes classroom conversation with the kids. Or maybe it’s because she gives students choice throughout the day, and instead of assigning homework, she asks children to play card games and read books with their parents. Or maybe it’s just because she sings all day long. “Oh, I use well over 100 songs and have a song for every occasion,” Wood said. “Even for signals when I need their attention, I use a song so my message is child-centered.” Sample: “Give me 5, give me 4. Give me 3-2-1. I need eyes. I need ears. I need everyone.” That formula has worked well for Wood over her 28-year career in education that started in Ohio, took her to Sheffield, England then to Oklahoma and finally to Lexington. In England, she taught child development to prospective educators at a two-year college. After five years at Dixie Elementary, she’s in her sixth year at Cassidy. Wood’s educational philosophy is rooted in child development. One minute, she’s singing and the next she invokes the work of psychologists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky – pioneers in child development. “I don’t like to see kids sitting around waiting,” Wood said. “I like a busy classroom, and kids are allowed to talk and move around. Sometimes it gets a little loud and a little messy, but it’s worth the effort.” She also enjoys interacting with the students, saying, “Relationships are where learning begins. If children feel loved, they will want to learn.” Her position on homework is also based on solid research, which shows that it’s an ineffective way to learn, especially for young children. So throw out the worksheets and pick up those playing cards where children develop number fluency. Wood practices what she preaches. A favorite pastime is playing dominoes and Yahtzee with her 18-year-old daughter. Wood also loves to cook and she sets a pretty table. But education is her passion. “Teaching is an act of service,” she said. “I teach because I can’t think of anything else that would fulfill me the same way.”