Cindy Hodge is a second grade teacher in Oakdale at Magnolia Elementary and she's ABC10's Teacher of the Month for February 2021.
Cindy has been teaching for 21 years and says teaching keeps her young. Her energy is palpable and her students adore her.
ABC10 asked Cindy a few questions to get a better understanding of her passion for teaching.
Q: How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching in 1999 at Magnolia Elementary School. It was my first teaching job and I was going to teach fourth grade. It was a great year! When the year ended, my administrator said she wanted me to be in second grade, and I have been there ever since! This is my 21st year and I love what I do!
Q: Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
I was one of those kids that just loved school and all of my teachers, but my favorite teacher from Caswell Elementary was Mrs. Carson. When school was out, I would ride my bike home as quickly as I could, change into my play clothes, and ride back to school to help my teacher. No matter what day it was or what time it was, she would always be happy to see me. She would stop what she was doing and take the time to find me something to do, which was usually correcting five-minute math tests. We would talk about everything and she made me feel important and proud of myself.
Q: What's your favorite student success story?
I think that my favorite student success story would have to include many of my students. Being a second grade teacher, children are still learning to read, write, and count their numbers. Sometimes, students will come into the classroom without being able to read or count. These students are the students who I find myself striving harder each day to make sure that they are getting extra help from me. I find ways to make them understand concepts by breaking steps down into smaller steps so that they can be mastered. I share tricks, shortcuts, and even ways my teachers helped me learn. The day when they are able to read a complete sentence or add two numbers the vertical way, we celebrate their accomplishment. I remind them of what they are able to do when they work hard and never give up.
Q: What advice do you have for the future teachers of America?
Enjoy what you do! That is the advice that I have for future teachers of America. It is not an easy job and requires long hours, weekends, organization, patience, flexibility, and a big heart. Teachers teach children in the classroom and also develop relationships with families at home. You must be willing to go above your expectations and nurture young minds with all of the knowledge that you can possibly share with them while you have them. You must remember to take the time needed to explain things when they are curious and listen to their thoughts even if you know it sounds silly. You can teach from a book and say your job is done, but making learning fun and meaningful will have a better outcome for all. I have a saying that we say all of the time: You must say it to hear it. You must hear it to learn it. When you learn it, it's easy, and easy is fun! When your students do not want to go to the next grade, you know that you're doing something right!
Q: What advice do you have for parents?
For my parents at home, continue doing what you do best and provide a warm, caring family that your children love to come to school and talk about and look forward to returning to at the end of the day. Continue learning with them and supporting them with their studies. When your child feels loved and supported at home, they bring that love and support into the classroom. Continue building relationships with their teachers. When your child feels that their parents and teacher have a good relationship, they feel confident and proud. Allow your child to make mistakes, but help them be successful in the end. It will make it easier for them to conquer something challenging when they encounter something difficult in the classroom. Last but not least, take the time to listen to them. Ask them questions and show them that you care about their learning just as much as they do.
Congratulations again to our February 2021 Teacher of the Month, Cindy Hodge!