Our latest Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is Rachel Ellis of Warren Williams Elementary Alternative School. Ms. Ellis is a pre-kindergarten teacher and has been with Lee County Schools since 2010. She began her career as a teacher assistant, then became a Pre-K teacher at Warren Williams in 2014 and has been there ever since! She holds a B.S. in Human Development and Family Services and Early Care/Ed -B-K Licensure from UNC at Greensboro and a M.S. in Early Childhood Studies and Teaching Diversity in Early Childhood from Walden University. Ms. Ellis was recently honored as the school’s 2019-20 Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Ellis believes a teacher builds a bond with students by the interactions that you have with them. She comments, “You build a student’s trust by how you treat them, the way you communicate with and to them, and actions you make as a role model in front of them. When a child can trust you and relate or show an interest in the things that you are trying to teach them, not only have you gained their respect, but you have set up the ultimate learning environment. I believe children learn best when they learn through play and can communicate within a comfortable, engaging and safe learning environment. Through these interactions, each child can reach their fullest potential in all areas of learning. I believe in differentiating lessons to reach each child where they are at. Each child is unique with different strengths. I like to use a child’s strengths to gain objective goals.”
The teaching accomplishment that Ms. Ellis is proudest of is being able to overcome obstacles and connecting with students. She reflects, “I have learned the most from the challenges that I literally felt that I would never get through. Those children have made me the loving, kind-hearted, and giving teacher that I am today. I dedicate my soul to my classroom every year. I keep up with my families through the years and love to hear about their milestones and growth.”
For those who are considering a career in teaching, Ms. Ellis would give the following advice: “Teach from the heart, create a strong relationship with not only your students but your families too, be a team player, always try to find something positive to say and work on those organizational skills!