Teacher Spotlight – Carina Freeman

Carina Freeman, a fifth-grade teacher at Three Oaks Public School Academy has been teaching for two years. She is passionate about making an impact on kids’ lives and loves that she gets to be in a classroom every single day. 

We asked Carina some questions about her journey to teaching and what she likes the most about it. Keep reading to hear all about it. 

Who inspired you or why did you choose to be a teacher? 

My parents and grandmother always said they knew I’d be a teacher. This was unbeknownst to me at the time, but boy were they right. 

Teaching was something that I walked into and I am forever grateful for the journey that got me here. My youngest children had just entered kindergarten and I wanted to help out at their school somehow. I had finished college the year prior and felt like being at the school would also give me the opportunity to be close to my twins during the day. 

Their teacher suggested that I try substituting, so I started substituting at their school. I loved the kids and made real connections with them. That year, I was offered a full-time substitute position and it was life-changing. 

As a social scientist, I realized how much I could reach the future in this position and wanted to pursue obtaining my teaching certificate so I could stay in the classroom.  I went through the alternative route to obtain my certification, and I have not looked back. 

Who were some of the most influential teachers that you had growing up? What made them have an impact on your life? 

In high school, my English teacher, Mrs. Centella, introduced me to my first pen pal in Africa. She taught me that writing was far more than just testing. I fell in love with writing thanks to my ninth-grade teacher. 

In college, I had an undergraduate course in criminology with my favorite professor, Dr. D, and it challenged the way I looked at and approached everyday life. His instruction and the ways he taught me to look at the world was a critical turning point in my life. 

What are you most looking forward to this upcoming year?

This upcoming school year, I’m looking forward to seeing my fifth graders return for sixth grade and I’m looking forward to embarking on a new adventure with a great group of kids, co-workers and administrators. 

If you have a bad day, what makes you get up the next morning and be the best teacher possible?

If I have a bad day, knowing that I am that smiling face and stability that one of my students may need gets me up and ready for the day. 

How would a student best describe you?

I had a student this past year tell me that I am the nicest meanest teacher ever and that they love me! I’d like to think that means I’m fair. 

What was your journey to obtain your college degree? What school did you attend?

I attended the University of Maryland primarily in Japan. My undergraduate degree is in research social science. I began my graduate degree with a focus in cross-discipline research with NOVA university in Florida. My alternative route to teaching was with Teachers of Tomorrow. 

If you have previously taught, where did you teach and for how long?

This will be my fifth year of teaching. I taught at a charter school in Florida prior to moving to Michigan last summer. 

What do you do outside of the classroom? What are your hobbies? 

I love to coach cheerleading and dance. I also enjoy troop leading for girl scouts. Finally, anything that has to do with a beach makes me happy.