JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Stephanie Richardson, second grade teacher at the Jonesboro Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School, has been named March Teacher of the Month.
Region 8 News sat down with Richardson recently to learn more about her teaching style and her desire to teach.
"I knew from 10th grade on that I wanted to be a teacher," Richardson said.
She grew up on a farm and always wanted to be a veterinarian, but in high school she met a little girl that led her down a different career path.
"She was actually one of my friend's nieces," Richardson said. "Loved her, feel in love with her and from that day on I was like I want to work with children. So, instead of going the vet way, I went the teacher way."
Richardson said she always loved school.
"I was probably the overachiever, the perfectionist, the goodie-goodie," she said.
Richardson obtained her master's degree, passed the national boards, and took to the classroom back in 2004.
"My first year I don't really quite remember," Richardson said. "It was such a whirlwind."
She developed her own teaching style, and learned to be flexible and open-minded. That is one reason why her students are set up in groups.
"Sometimes they just need someone on their level," she said. "To say 'Hey, I did this, this, and this and that's how I got my answer.' And they're like, 'Oh, well I can do that.' They need to be able to work together, share their ideas. I mean we do it every day as adults."
But Richardson says the biggest thing to establish in the classroom is a relationship with the students.
"Your relationship with your kids is what will make or break you for a year," she said. "My style of teaching, it changes. It changes every year."
Those changes may include a new way of teaching math or even Common Core.
Richardson admits, it is not always easy.
"There are days where you're like 'I'm done. I quit.' But then you look back and you think about the kids and then you're like 'I'm not doing it for a pay check,' Richardson said. "I'm not here for my summers off because we don't really get them, but I am here because of the kids. And I hope that someday somebody feels that way about my kids."