Lee County Schools Teacher of the Week — Paige Langston

Dec. 15, 2012 @ 10:03 PM

Name: Paige Langston

School: Greenwood Elementary 

Grades/subjects you teach: Fourth

E-mail address: plangston.gw@lee.k12.nc.us 

Date, place of birth: July 8, Goldsboro, N.C.

Education (high school & college attended, degrees): Sanford Central High/Lee Senior High; East Carolina University BS/Early Childhood; Campbell University Masters of Education

Brief work history: Have taught 29 years/this is 30 SEmD WB Wicker, Deep River, Greenwood

Hobbies/interests outside teaching: Reading, music, spending time at the beach, watching my daughter play sports

Family: One daughter, Emma, who is an eighth grader at SanLee Middle School

ON TEACHING

What led you to a career as a teacher? My mom was a teacher in Lee County for 25 years. She always found a teachable moment in everything we did at home. I guess it was inherited. When I look back at the things I did in my youth, babysitting, working in Bible School, coaching, it’s hard to imagine myself doing anything else.

Who were your favorite teachers as you went through school, and what did you learn from them? There were many, but I especially remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hatch, my Science Methods professor at ECU, Dr. Coble and my Statistics professor at Campbell, Dr. Henry. Mrs. Hatch would get wax paper from her house so that we could go down the slide faster. Dr. Coble invited us to his house for breakfast study sessions and Dr. Henry exhibited the patience of Job as I tried my best to conquer statistics.

Has becoming a teacher been all you expected it would be? It’s harder than I ever expected, but I have learned more than I have taught.

How has teaching changed since you were a student? The pace and enormity of the curriculum is a definite change and there was no such thing as technology in the Dark Ages.

What “makes your day” as a teacher? I think most teachers would tell you it’s the moment that a child truly understands what you have been trying so hard to teach. You can see it all over his/her face.

What’s working in schools today? Teachers! Teachers that are in the profession because they value education. Teachers that are at school until five o’clock trying to create or find the best ways to teach the processes or concepts that they know children must learn in order to be productive people.

What’s not working? The “huge-ness” of the task before us and the resources (time, manpower, money, etc.) we have to accomplish the task are not equal.

What’s your favorite memory of your first year as a teacher? I don’t know that I would call it a favorite memory, because my first year was very difficult. My most vivid memory was when after an observation my principal, Mr. Ned Thompson said, “Your delivery is great, but no one is listening.” It was my first taste of “the real world” and I will remember it forever.

How would your “teacher” persona handle you as a student? I think I would be a better student now than I was in my youth, but I think that is true for most people. Hindsight is 20/20. I might try to hide a novel in my math book occasionally.

Best piece of advice for other teachers? Don’t let the stress of your job take the fun out of learning. Your students will not remember most of what you taught them, but they will remember how you taught it.

For students? School is life. Pay attention!

For parents? Make education a priority in your home. Let your children see you learning.

If you were superintendent for a day, you’d: I cannot begin to imagine having that responsibility!

What about your job would surprise your non-teaching friends the most? I am not shy about sharing the daily adventures that teachers encounter, so most of my non-teaching friends are very familiar with my “teacher life.” They look forward to the stories.

If you could somehow magically instill one truth into the heads of your students, what would it be? Learning is life-long process. Enjoy it!

When you think about today’s kids, you: It depends on the day. Some days I have the utmost confidence that the world is in good hands. Some days I am scared to death about what will happen in the future. Most days I just pray that they will grow and become responsible, kind and compassionate people.

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? They would probably first say “nice” because that’s what all fourth graders say. I hope they would say “fair” when given a second chance.

Favorite movie about school or teaching: “Akeelah and the Bee”

How would you summarize your teaching philosophy? I believe that my job as an educator is not just to deliver content. I believe that I am also responsible for instilling life skills that will help my students become productive human beings who will make the world a better place. I realize that not every child learns in the same way or at the same pace and my plan for instruction must be constructed with that in mind. Learning is a life-long process and the greatest gift I can give to my students is to show them that I believe that.

What five things must every teacher know? 1) His/Her students. 2) The curriculum/content he/she teaches. 3) His/Her fellow colleagues. 4) The importance of flexibility. 5) The importance of learning for the sake of learning.

What’s special about your classroom? I hope that it is an inviting, unintimidating place where children can grow academically and as human beings. It’s also full of GREAT books!

What’s special about your school? The staff truly cares about the children that walk its halls.

Most unusual question you’ve ever gotten from a student? Were you alive when Virginia Dare was born? My answer: Some days I feel like I was!