Teacher of the Week: Elizabeth Ricks

Elizabeth Ricks

Elizabeth Ricks is a First Grade Spanish Immersion teacher at Cottonwood Elementary. Ricks has been a teacher for 16 years, but this is her first year teaching at Cottonwood.

What made you decide to be a teacher? I had a few great teachers that helped me gain a love for learning and in return I wanted to help other kids gain a love for learning.

What do you enjoy about being a teacher? I enjoy learning myself and when I see that spark of interest and/or understanding in a student it brings great joy!

What are some challenges? If this question were posed any other year my answer would be completely different. I am sure everyone is aware that Covind-19 brought new challenges. The change from in-class learning to remote learning happen literally overnight. I am not a computer whiz and pairing that up with very little knowledge of how to run and implement new programs was very challenging for me.

What is an experience you have had as a teacher that stands out to you? I began my teaching career as a 5th grade teacher and absolutely loved it. When an opportunity became available to teacher closer to home, I took a deep breath and accepted an elementary position. I literally cried at the end of every day for about the first week of teaching first grade. At the point in my teaching career, I could not grasp the idea knowing multiple ways of teaching a single letter sound! How foolish I was! I have since then learned a variety of teaching methodologies and now I cannot imagine how I would survive a whole teaching day without being surrounded by these littles. The love and honesty they give is truly a blessing and life booster.

Why did you decide to teach at the school you are currently at? My only reason for moving from Jefferson Elementary to Cottonwood was having the opportunity to teach where my grandchildren would be attending.

What is something interesting about you most of your students don’t know? I love the ocean but when I am in the ocean, I have a constant fear of being eaten by a shark! My other talent would be that at my age I can still stand on my head.

What are some things that are different in the education system now compared to when you first started teaching/when you were a student? I remember that the biggest fear we all had in elementary school, was being “paddled” by the principal! When I was a teenager no one had a computer at home. If you wanted to know something and were lucky enough to an encyclopedia set at home, you would look it up. If you did not have a set, you would have wait to go to the public library before you can find the answer. Whereas kids now have instant access to information via the internet.

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