May's Teacher of the Month
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.— Williamstown Elementary School teacher Jenna Dickinson was selected for the May edition of our Teacher of the Month series, which will run for the next 12 months in partnership with Berkshire Community College.
Dickinson grew up in Williamstown her whole life and attended Williamstown Elementary School. She has since returned to her alma mater to teach kindergarten.
As soon as she entered the classroom to decorate earlier this year she felt like she was home, she said.
Although this is her first year teaching kindergarten both parents and teacher have praised her for the work she has been doing.
"She has just been a really helpful, really communicative teacher…Whenever we've had any question she's been super responsive," Parent Kate Flower said.
"So, it's just been a really great year. We're very happy that she has gotten this honor, she totally deserves it."
Despite it being her first year teaching kindergarten, the year has been wonderful, Flower said. They have really enjoyed having their daughter Margo in her class.
"Margo loves Miss Dickinson and talks about her every day, she even changed her favorite color to orange, because it’s Miss Dickinson’s favorite color," Flower said.
One student said that she hopes her sister, who also attends Williamstown Elementary School, will have Dickinson as a teacher.
Kindergarten is a very formative year for children as it sets the foundation for the student's future success, Dickinson said.
It is the first time that these students have been asked to do a full day of structure regularly, she said.
"So, I think it's really important to provide a lot of variety, offer them lots of creative opportunities, a lot of choice, while also guiding them into some of those more structured, linear educational strategies," Dickinson said.
Dickinson said that she is fortunate because Williamstown Elementary is a small school so there are more opportunities for her to collaborate with other grades and build a teaching plan off of that.
"Kindergarten is all about building those foundational skills for reading, math, and socialization and we talk a lot about the first grade classrooms being just at the other end of this hallway and providing to my students what they will need before I let them hop that way to the first grade classrooms," Dickinson said.
This may be Dickinson’s first year teaching kindergarten but she is not a newcomer to the education field.
Dickinson was originally a high school math teacher for three years after graduating from Lafayette College where she majored in math and minored in French.
She loved teaching high schoolers but the major focus on Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System testing made it difficult to connect with her students and made her feel like she lost the creativity in teaching, Dickinson said.
She left the education field for about 10 years but returned when she was hired as a reading interventionist at Williamstown Elementary.
Check out our video of Dickinson and her students here.