Dee-El Caines – J.R. Ingram Elementary

Our latest Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is Dee-El Caines of J.R. Ingram Elementary School. Ms. Caines is a kindergarten teacher and has been a part of the Ingram family for 15 of her 20-year teaching career. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood with a K-6 teaching certificate from Meredith College. Ms. Caines was recently honored as Ingram’s 2019-20 Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Caines teaching philosophy really focuses on the whole child.  She make diligent to connect with each of her students, noting, “I learn what they know, who they are, where they come from and how they learn. With knowledge and support from school staff, I expect myself to guide students to become confident, educated, strong, creative, successful and kind.”

A great teaching accomplishment for Ms. Caines occurred this past school year when Lee County Schools had to implement remote learning and Google Meets due to the coronavirus. She comments, “Nurturing is what I do in both my personal and professional life. When the students were not able to return to the classroom, I struggled with how to keep the nurturing and SEL going. At first, I scheduled Google Meets for the whole class and then worked with families to schedule individual meets. Wow, what a powerful time those intentional meets have been. Seeing the students in their homes, in their rooms, sharing about their days have been amazing times. The benefit of connecting with the children and their learning has been a positive during COVID-19. Families have supported their students and myself during the meets by participating, asking questions and giving feedback on their personal experiences.”

For those who are thinking about entering the teaching profession, Ms. Caines is happy to share some advice, observing “Know your WHY-why you want to teach, why you want to teach a specific grade level or subject. Know your strengths and weaknesses as you prepare to teach and to find ways that can impact students. Spend time asking questions and observing other educators. Stop reading what everyone is doing online, it’s overwhelming! I’d encourage future teachers to be well planned: plan to build positive relationships with students and their families, plan for instruction, plan for classroom management, plan to work with colleagues, plan to reflect and plan to be amazing. I would mention that if they feel crazy because of all the planning, ‘it’s ok because most educators (no matter how many years later) feel the same way…Welcome to Teaching!’”