The first grade. Full of surprises, friendships, learning, and fun. However, none of this is possible without a teacher to guide the students, and that is exactly what Ms. Hughes does. The art of teaching is so much more than just carrying out a lesson plan; it involves being charismatic yet strict, instructive yet high-spirited. It is a balance that Ms. Hughes exemplifies and the impact she has on her students is definitely visible from the moment you step into the classroom. They are respectful and studious, but at the same time still the same six and seven year olds you would expect them to be. Ms. Hughes imbues a classroom atmosphere that encourages peer support, or as she likes to tell her students, being bucket fillers, and her students exemplify this behavior very well. They can often be seen helping each other out with assignments, reading, math problems, or even the simple act of tying a shoelace. Ms. Hughes first grade class is definitely the class to be in, as the relationships she builds between her students is incredible.
My first foray into this classroom was filled with slight anxiety, but Ms. Hughes was very welcoming and I felt right at home, even reminiscing about the days when I was a first grader. I spoke with her on several occasions and the amount of passion she has for teaching and for her students is amazing. When asked what her favorite, most rewarding part of teaching was, she responded by saying that it was when her students reflected her love for them, in small acts of appreciation. Those were the moments she treasured the most and it is amazing to see a teacher with so much dedication make a difference in these children's lives in the classroom. My time here at Y.E. Smith has definitely been an enjoyable one. Being able to interact with the students and meet a teacher like Ms. Hughes who cared so much for her students not only academics wise, but also in their general growth as children was fantastic and definitely an experience that I will not forget.