Ms. Kristin Beam, parent of a fourth grade student at Muse Elementary, says she could tell her daughter’s fourth grade teacher Mrs. Stealey was special right from the beginning of school. Mrs. Stealey asked the parents of her students to fill out a form about their child asking everything about them, including any concerns they may have. Ms. Beam says she felt like Mrs. Stealey really knew her daughter and cared about her.
“My daughter even made the comment that she felt like she was her “mom” at school. It is so comforting to know your child is in good hands and being pushed to achieve her full potential.”
Another parent in Mrs. Stealey’s class, Ms. Ashley Justice agrees with Ms. Beam’s sentiments about Mrs. Stealey,
“I very much appreciated after her conversations with me, I didn’t feel as if I spoke to his teacher, but I felt like I spoke to a mom, a mom who just “got it”, someone who wasn’t here to place judgment in an already overwhelming situation.”
Ms. Justice goes on to explain that her son was diagnosed with ADHD in first grade and that she was concerned about what the year would look like with the pandemic. Ms. Justice says that Mrs. Stealey was able to identify her son’s struggles very early on and that she remained patient with them as they worked through them. Ms. Justice says that working with Ms. Stealey has helped her son in so many ways,
“This school year has been incredible, Drew has excelled academically but more importantly he has gained the confidence that he lacked to work towards developing into himself.”
So what does Mrs. Stealey do differently?
Mrs. Stealey has the students learn in a number of different ways and activities. She lets them work in groups and independently. She doesn’t have them sitting at a desk all day. She keeps them moving and learning. Ms. Beam says Mrs. Stealey’s classroom is set up like a diner with tables and individual desks. She will let them work with close friends they choose and other times work with students they maybe aren’t as close with to teach them that in life we don’t always work with our best friend and we have to find ways to get along with others. Ms. Beam goes on to say that Mrs. Stealey keeps students engaged with projects on different topics,
“They have made many projects throughout the year for Social Studies, Science and writing. She uses games to make learning fun. She really goes above and beyond. She not only teaches them subjects but life lessons and how it is so important to be kind.”
Ms. Justice agrees with Ms. Beam and can tell that Mrs. Stealey shows up each day for the right reasons,
“I think she meets her students right where they are at, whether that be academically, emotionally or even mentally. I think she takes a holistic approach to her students for them to thrive in her classroom. I imagine that this approach helps to keep them engaged individually. I think she really “sees” a student for who they are and she celebrates that! I know she did this for Drew, she saw him for just who he is and worked to develop methods that would empower him to learn in a way that made sense for him. This is not a one size fit’s all classroom.”
Even with the challenges that the pandemic brought on Ms. Beam feels that Mrs. Stealey has remained understanding,
“This was the students first full year of school back in the traditional classroom setting. Although Canon-McMillan did an excellent job with online learning it’s not the same as in person. Mrs. Stealey was mindful of reviewing key points and helping the students catch up to where they needed to be academically. She has been patient, kind and understanding in all situations.”
Ms. Justice agrees with Ms. Beam and felt the need to reach out and thank Mrs. Stealey for all she has done,
“I owe so many thanks to her for this year. There is a reason we were assigned to this classroom and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity because I know for sure that what Mrs. Stealey has done this year will go years beyond her classroom. “