Question 1: What made you apply to the school where you chose to begin your career in education?

I knew of its reputation as a school that focuses on preparing students "for future works of service". It is a college prep school, but it also encourages community service.


Question 2: How many schools have you taught in?

Five over a thirty year span: one year at Oconomowoc High School in  WI, thirteen years at San Felipe-Del Rio High School in  TX; eleven years at Holmes High School in San Antonio; two years at First Baptist Academy in Universal City, four years at San Antonio Christian Schools.

Question 3: What was your first year of teaching like? What do you remember as the most amazing thing about it? What was the worst thing about it? What did you carry forward from the first year until now?

My first year was really tough. I was teaching 12th grade English and replacing a master teacher. Because I was young, I struggled with seniors who daily challenged my authority. The best part of it was the support of colleagues who encouraged me. One of the teachers sat me down and drew up a plan to increase activities to increase student engagement. Without minimizing my authority, Joan showed me how to do my job more successfully.  From her, I learned to "read" students' responsiveness to my teaching: I shift gears when I see students are bored or puzzled or already understand what I am covering. 

Question 4: What advice do you have for a new teacher on classroom management?

As a new teacher, it is critical that you maintain authority. That requires setting the standard for both assignments and behavior. Consistency with flexibility will build student trust in you as the teacher. Being flexible allows for shifting gears: allotting more time on a lesson when needed or granting a student more time--on occasion and with reservation. As a teacher, your attitude makes all the difference. I realize my students have experiences I have not had. So, I look to see what I can learn from them through class discussions with the material in the curriculum. The result will net student respect for you as the teacher as they experience respect from you as individuals of worth.


Question 5: If you could begin your career over again, what might you do differently? 


My career has gone well, but I would pursue more education for me. While my fields are English and Speech, I realize now the benefit of a better history background and even the sciences like physics--they would enrich me, which would enrich my teaching.

Question 6: What did you do that was different from the other teachers in your building that made students know they could trust you, look up to you, learn from you?

I learned early in my career the benefit of standing at the door to greet students. By addressing them as they enter class and moving to the door as they leave, I establish rapport. The principal in Del Rio required it for teacher control of the hallways between class passing times. But, I began to see the students' faces--their eyes, their smiles/frowns, their postures, their playfulness and seriousness. That let me relate to them in a subtle, but meaningful way, that  carries into my class interactions. It really works!

 

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    Ms Judy Aberle is a veteran teacher who has taught in two different states, and five different schools. Judy is experienced teaching all high school grade levels as well as advising competitive forensics.  
    (Webmaster note: Ms Aberle is 5'2 weighing only 105 lbs, stature comes from knowing who you are, not size.)