Meet the Teacher: Samantha Westerlind

Welcome to Meet the Teacher – CodeMonkey’s blog segment where teachers from all over the world share their experiences on what it’s like being an educator. Today’s post features Samantha Westerlind who is a 3rd Grade Teacher at McGinnis Woods Country Day School in Alpharetta, GA.

“I decided to become a teacher when I was inspired by a teacher in 7th grade. She captivated my attention every class and she brought each lesson to life. I knew at that time I wanted to be that teacher, I wanted to have each class captivating, exciting, and new. As I worked and my creativity and love of technology grew, I knew I wanted to create a classroom that broke down walls and sparked students curiosity about the world around them and how to challenge themselves. By using technology and new evolving techniques, I have found each class to be excited, encouraged, motivated, and ready to take on any challenge! I am becoming the teacher I looked up to, and I want to keep pushing myself so I can give my students more. They deserve more.

I do consider myself a connected educator and try to keep updated with new technology that I can integrate into my classroom. I know how hard it is to give time from your day to connect with others, especially other educators, on best practices and new ways to expand your classroom, so I enjoy reaching out to other educators via social media to discuss new ideas and collaborate. I really enjoy taking on new challenges to enhance my own learning and actively seek creative STEM professional developments.

Children have this incredible unique way of viewing the world. No matter what is going on, they see hope, they see love, and they see the greater good in others. When I began working with children I had no idea of the amazing perspective that they had on the world just by asking a few guided questions and then allowing them to discuss topics amongst themselves. It is extraordinary what students can achieve by the right guidance and support and it is my ambition to provide every student I teach with that to help them achieve anything they want to. My students have taught me how to be patient with others and even myself. I don’t know all the answers, just like them, and I fail at times too. I like to show my students when I have made a mistake because for them to see that, really allows them to understand that everyone makes mistakes and learning from them is where we gain our knowledge.

It’s important to me that my students are inspired. I want my students to come into class each day inspired to learn and inspired by those around them. That it is ok to make mistakes and to learn from them, that it is ok to gain strength from others, that it is ok to see someone’s creativity and enthusiasm and be inspired by them. I want to always create a classroom that changes with the world and moves with the future. I am always inspired to go the extra mile because of my students, and I hope that in turn, they are inspired to do the same.

My advice is to learn alongside your students. To experiment with various technology and to be excited with your students. My students love to teach me new things when I work with them and they pick up new technology integration much faster than I could have ever imagined! I always get very excited to place a new piece of educational technology in my classroom and the students feel that. If you are excited, and if you are ok to make mistakes with your students, it will be a more rewarding experience than you can imagine. The students will learn new things and, in turn, so will you! It is a great adventure.”