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Samantha Frizzle, a fourth-grade teacher at Three Oaks Public School Academy will be entering into her second year as a teacher. She started as a teachers aide and went back to school to obtain her teaching certificate so that she could continue to be part of the Three Oaks community. She is committed to the kids, parents and community and loves making an impact on kids lives. 

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

Why did you choose to be a teacher? 

My path to teaching came about in a more roundabout way, but I am so happy with how it all ended up. I always knew that I always wanted to work with kids, and having a chance to work at a job where you know, without a doubt, you’re making a difference is something I never take for granted.

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

My most influential teachers were the ones that made me care about learning and showed me why it mattered. Their emphasis was always on why it was important and why I should be invested too, and it worked! I am actually in a social media group for fourth grade teachers, and my fourth-grade teacher is part of it! She was so happy to see me come full circle, and gave me wonderful advice! 

What are you most looking forward to this upcoming year? 

I am excited because I had a wonderful first year teaching, so I can only imagine what this year holds! Getting to know the kids, what they love, what works, and how to help them is my favorite part.

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

When it gets hard, I have to remind myself of all the good that comes from teaching. I know that every day when I come to work, a student needs me there. So to me it really doesn’t matter if I had a bad day, they need me and I need to rally up and fight for them! And if I am being honest, I need them! I always knew I needed to work a job that made a difference I could see, and this it! 

Additionally, mornings are my favorite time with my kiddos. Often seeing them in the morning is the only reminder I need. They provide a fresh start and a chance to recharge the classroom.

What’s your secret ingredient in your classroom? What techniques do you use that students really gravitate toward? 

I wish I knew a secret! I’ve only been teaching for one year, so I’m sure there are many more techniques I’ll learn. However,  If I had to describe my classroom philosophy, I would say it is simply based upon each student. Getting to know them and learning what works for them and what doesn’t. When a student can see I care, I respect them, and I believe in them, it (usually!) can push them to the level where they excel. 

An added bonus is that they are often pleasantly surprised with where they end up. I had a kid tell me this past year, “I can’t believe I had such a good year!” It’s so wonderful to see students recognize what you saw in them all along.

How would a student best describe you?

Oh goodness! They’ve told me I’m serious, silly, weird, extra, “kind of funny,” and everything in between! 

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

I started at Grand Valley State University with a major in Elementary Education. Pretty normal start! However, I then got married two years in and moved to San Diego, California where my husband was stationed. This move resulted in two college transfers, one to Miramar College, and the next to San Diego State University. I ended up changing my major to Criminal Justice, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. 

When I moved back to Michigan, I interviewed at Three Oaks as a teacher’s aide. Then I was offered to opportunity as a long term substitute, which I excitedly accepted! Once this was in place, a Choice Staff Member told me about a wonderful program for me to get my teaching certificate even though my bachelors degree was in criminal justice. After completing the program and taking the classes this past year, I am now a “regular” fourth grade teacher and couldn’t be happier! Phew, that was a lot! 

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

I love to read, I (sometimes) love to run, and I have a new puppy named Jack! Summer is my favorite time of year, and I love to be outside any chance I get!

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