Getting to Know You: AKPK Teacher of the Year Chelsea Alexander

Chelsea Alexander, AKPK Teacher of the Year

My name is Chelsea Alexander, and I work at AKPK in an OSR Pre-K classroom.  I have been working for ACS for 8 years. If you count high school working for extended day, I have actually been working for ACS since 2015. I have been an Aggie all my life from kindergarten to graduation.  ACS has been a huge part of my educational journey. I still love being an Aggie! After High School, I attended Snead State Community College where I earned my Associate’s Degree. Then, I transferred to Athens State University where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been married to my husband, Dillian, for three years and we have a 16-month-old son, Sawyer. 

What made you go into education? 

I love children and helping them in any way I can. However, I thought I always wanted to be a pediatric nurse so I joined an internship my junior year and God had other plans. Soon after being accepted into the internship, God laid it heavily on my heart that was not what he called me to do with my life and I was made to be an educator because children in school need the love of Jesus too. So, I said yes to that calling and gave my intern spot to someone else. As soon as I did that, God opened the door for me to begin working extended day at ACS and well, the rest is history. I truly love it here!

Did you have a teacher (or teachers) who made an impact on you as a student?

I have had many educators that have impacted my life through school, but two stand out to me in a greater way than others. The first teacher was my first grade teacher Mrs. Ruth Ellen Thompson because she read Junie B Jones everyday. She made reading so much fun, which instilled in me a love of reading. She always carried a smile on her face and loved her students. The second teacher that made a huge impact on me was Mr. Brian Harris. I was a struggling math student and he helped me overcome that hurdle. He helped bridge the gaps when I didn’t understand and helped me to be more confident in my math ability. He always displayed patience even when he explained it a 100 times and taught in different ways to make sure I had understanding. I would not have passed my math praxis without him. 

Why did you want to teach at AKPK?

I wanted to teach at AKPK because I have a genuine passion for children this age. I love being able to be the first person that sets the foundation for their educational journey. There are so many intrinsic rewards that come from seeing children learn all their “firsts” and watching them grow and mature immensely during their PreK year. I also love working for this school because we have such a family environment. We encourage each other, pray for each other, and just work together in so many ways. We also have very supportive administrators which makes working here so much better. 

What three words would your peers, administrators or students use to describe you?

If my peers were to describe me in three words it would be compassionate, creative, and fun. 

What would you tell your first-year self?

If I could give advice to my first year self it would be to not stress the little things. Think outside the box. Ignore the negativity around you because some veteran teachers may not like the new ways you teach, but just do what is best for your kids and if it doesn’t work, try again the next day. 

How do you emphasize involving families in your students’ education?

I emphasize involving families in your students’ education from day one by calling parents. I get to know them and about their families and let them know about me. I also send home weekly newsletters and daily communication folders. I also encourage communication with parents and always have an open line of communication with them. We also emphasize family involvement in OSR Pre-K and encourage parents to attend school activities and classroom projects with their children. 

What advice would you give to those who are interested in teaching?

My advice I would give someone interested in teaching is if you are passionate about it do it. Teaching is the most rewarding career and you get to see the fruit of the seed you plant daily through ah-ha moments, to a child being more confident in their learning, to just seeing a child fall in love with learning. Don’t worry about the negative comments because coming to work doing what you love daily doesn’t feel like a job. 

What’s your favorite part of the school day?

My favorite time of our school day is the morning meeting because I get to sit down with the kids and just talk. I get to hear their thoughts, interests, and concerns. I love that we have that time because they get to be heard and learn to listen to others. It creates such a classroom community. 

If you had to teach a class on a deserted island, what are the five indispensable things you would take with you?

If I had to teach a class on a deserted island, the five indispensable things I would take with me would be an anchor chart , markers, engaging books, paper, and art supplies, because we could come up with lots of creative ways to learn. 

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned thus far in your career?

The most valuable thing I have learned this far in my career is don’t listen to the negativity around you. Always do what is best for your kids, no matter what. You may be the only person in their life that truly cares about them, so make it count! 

What do you hope your students remember most about you as a teacher?

One thing I hope my students always remember about me as a teacher is that I loved them. If they feel loved daily and remember that I am proud of them, then I have accomplished something important. 

Describe working at ACS in one word!

If I could describe ACS in one word, it would be Community. We have such a community together as a school, but we also have a supportive community from our town. Our school system is a huge part of Albertville and it shows.