Lee County Schools Teacher of the Week — Michele Bursey

Apr. 17, 2013 @ 08:09 PM

Name: Michele Bursey

School: Warren Williams

Grades/subjects you teach: NC Pre-K

E-mail address: mbursey.bway@lee.k12.nc.us

Date, place of birth: Nov. 16, Wiesbaden, Germany

Education (college attended, degrees): Mohawk Valley C.C. — associate’s degree in business; University of Maryland — associate’s degree in early childhood education; East Carolina University (ECU) — bachelor’s of science degree in birth through kindergarten (BK) teacher education, will graduate May 2013 with a master’s of Arts in Education (BK) degree from ECU.

Brief work history: Nationally accredited military child care provider 20-plus years, Lee County Schools NC Pre-K teacher (Warren Williams) four years.

Teaching honors/awards: Lakenheath, England, Provider of the Year, United States Air Force Europe (USAFE) Provider of the Year.

Hobbies/interests outside teaching: I love spending time with my family, exercising, playing or watching sports, reading, singing and playing computer games.

Family: Husband, Ben, son Ben III, daughters, Trinity and Ariel.


Who were your favorite teachers as you went through school, and what did you learn from them?

One of my favorite teachers was Mrs. Agone, who instilled a love of reading in me through her exciting storytelling abilities. I hope to emulate her soft-spoken, patient, yet firm, instruction. Mr. Rossi was a caring, hardworking fun teacher who incorporated interactive learning games into the majority of his lessons. I learned that knowing your students and careful, but flexible, planning help make successful lessons.

Has becoming a teacher been all you expected it would be?

Teaching is all I expected and more. I will never stop learning.

How has teaching changed since you were a student?

Technology has made a quantum leap and is now not only a useful and imperative part of education; it is also used to help ensure students are globally aware.

What “makes your day” as a teacher?

I love the “a-ha!” moments of clarity when a student obtains a real understanding of a concept and the wisdom to use it to change their lives.

What’s working in schools today?

We are working toward individualized lessons for all students.

What’s not working?

Teachers doing it all themselves — learning is easier and more successful when students, parents and teachers work together.

What’s your favorite memory of your first year as a teacher?

One of my favorite early teaching memories at Warren Williams was when a student continually called me “Mrs. Hersey.”

Best piece of advice for other teachers?

I would encourage other teachers to treat all students and parents with kindness and respect, set limits, be consistent and make learning fun!

For students?

I would encourage students to enjoy learning as a unique individual, have confidence in their abilities, work hard and never give up.

For parents?

Set a regular time and designate a specific quiet place in your home with a table and chair, if possible, for you and your child to work on homework together.

If you were superintendent for a day, you’d:

If I were superintendent for a day, I would visit schools and classrooms without my inspector’s cap and ask teachers and administrators how I could support them.

What about your job would surprise your non-teaching friends the most?

My non-teaching friends would be surprised to know my school day begins long before the first student arrives and ends long after the last student leaves.

If you could somehow magically instill one truth into the heads of your students, what would it be?

You can do it, don’t give up!

When you think about today’s kids, you:

Smile, they are so funny! They have so much potential, energy, talent and opportunities.

If one of your students was asked for a one-word description of you by a student who hadn’t had you in class, what would that one word be?


Favorite movie about school or teaching:

One of my favorite movies about teaching is “Stand and Deliver,” based on the story of East Los Angeles math teacher Jaime Escalante.

How would you summarize your teaching philosophy?

I believe all children are unique and can reach their fullest potential when they receive support in all areas of development, are taught with their interests and individual learning styles in mind, and when students, teachers and parents collaborate to reach learning goals.

What five things must every teacher know?

Their students’ names (just kidding!)

1. How to pray for students, their families, coworkers and for patience

2. How to be flexible and improvise

3. How to effectively, consistently and fairly manage a classroom

4. How to collaborate with students and parents to reach learning goals

5. How to make learning fun

What’s special about your classroom?

My classroom is special because I have created a fun and safe environment where all students feel secure, free to laugh, explore and learn through play without fear of reproach.

What’s special about your school?

The staff at Warren Williams works very hard to help every student reach their fullest potential in all areas of their lives.

Most unusual question you’ve ever gotten from a student?

Obviously thinking I lived at school, a student asked, “Where is your bed?”