The energetic Mrs. Walling, formerly known to students as “Miss Q,” was selected to represent River Plaza Elementary by the school district. Below is an interview with her.
What is your role at River Plaza School? I am a special education teacher. I provide in class support as well as pull out support to both fourth and fifth grade students.
How long have you been a teacher and how long have you been at River Plaza? I have been teaching since January of 2006. With that said, I have been teaching nearly seven years. This is my third year teaching at River Plaza.
What is your educational background? I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology/General and Special Education. I also have a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology.
What drew you to a career in teaching? Was there a teacher or family member who inspired you? To be honest I am not quite sure. My Nonna (grandma) was a teacher in Italy, prior to moving to the states. I always had a passion to be in the field of acting, teaching or psychology (specifically the counseling aspect). I think that as time passed, I came to realize that to be an educator is all encompassing. It is an extraordinarily fulfilling occupation to be able to support students academically, socially, and emotionally and watch them thrive.
What is your favorite part of your job? THE KIDS! The students here at River Plaza are so special. They are spirited but respectful, engaging, and inquisitive, and simply put, an absolute pleasure to work with.
Do you have a motto for yourself and your students? I would say I always remind the children to be the best they can be and to take risks. These are often statements that I turn into questions for students to reflect on after activities. I feel that if you can say that you held up to those two standards you should feel nothing but proud of yourself. I don't believe getting the right answer is everything all the time. I really like to look at the journey--it's problem solving at its best! I live by those two rules of thumb and I think for that it makes me a better person in every aspect of my life. I want my students to feel that same way too.
What is your biggest challenge as a teacher? Time! There is just not enough time in the day!
What do you see as the strong points of the current elementary school curriculum for the Middletown district? I appreciate our district's energy and effort in searching for and providing materials for teachers with various instructional philosophies and strategies so they can provide instruction to all types of learners with the ever changing expectations from the nation, state, and the always swinging education pendulum.
Is there any advice you would like to offer parents about literacy? I recognize how hard the parents in our River Plaza community work with their children and how involved they are in their childrens' lives. If I could encourage parents to do one thing when it comes to literacy it is encourage the love of reading by making the time to read with their children each night. The time you share together not only encourages reading development, it also creates an important bond.