In a colorfully cluttered classroom, Mrs. Molly Goldsberry leads her second-grade class in reciting the names of the members of a mice family from a story they are reading together. Their voices reverberate off the walls adorned with posters relaying the alphabet, vowels, math symbols and students’ artwork.
Mrs. Goldberry’s smile is as bright as her classroom. She walks around, having the kids take notes on the story they are reading about a mouse family that lives in a shoe, but is considering remodeling after a nasty cat attack.
As she walks through the tables of students, she pauses behind one child who is staring blankly at their piece of paper.
“Okay, let’s go,” Goldsberry says. “Why are you not writing?”
She gives the child a stern look as she heads back to the front of the class to continue with the story.
About 30 minutes later, as they are nearing the end of the story, Mrs. Goldsberry is once again walking throughout the class checking the students’ notes. When she gets to the student who was struggling before, he looks up, beaming at her.
“Good, you got that part,” Goldsberry says, “and that’s the whole point, isn’t it? To get better.”
“Yeah, better and better,” he says.
“You don’t know everything at first,” Goldsberry says. “I still don’t know everything, and I’ve been doing it a long time. We have to get better and better.”
This has been Goldsberry’s philosophy for 50 years.
“You have to keep learning,” Goldsberry said. “That’s the whole point of life. I always feel if you stop learning, then you sort of stop living.”
Goldsberry grew up in Parker and after graduating from Arizona State University, she returned to her hometown to be an elementary school teacher. She was originally going to be a math teacher but feared that she looked too young and wouldn’t be taken seriously by high school students.
She began teaching second grade at Le Pera Elementary School at the age of 21 and has not stopped since.
“I’ve just always liked the idea of helping people learn,” Goldsberry said. “There’s a lot of people in kids’ lives and they need all of them and all the experiences to learn so I just hope that I can be a little bit a part of that.”
When she first started teaching, Goldsberry said that she was unsure that she was actually helping the kids, but with time she has become comfortable in her role as a teacher.
“I wasn’t sure I was helping them learn,” Goldsberry said. “Sometimes I thought they were learning in spite of me not because of me. Now I know that there are things I can do to help them learn.”
Goldsberry said that in addition to helping kids learn educational material, she also enjoys helping them learn more about themselves.
“I just like the idea that I can get a kid to learn something and feel good about himself,” Goldsberry said. “Sometimes it’s the feeling good about himself that’s more important than the learning.”
She said that at the beginning of each year the class tells the story of the invisible boy – a boy who is not included, so he feels invisible. She teaches them the importance of treating each other with kindness and that they are important as individuals.
“There’s something good about them no matter what,” Goldsberry said.
Additionally, Le Pera Elementary School is a Capturing Kids’ Hearts school. Capturing Kids’ Hearts is a teaching style that focuses on teaching children to treat each other in a kind and respectful manner.
“It’s the way our school has decided to function to create a positive atmosphere,” Goldsberry said.
As a part of the program, the class makes a contract at the beginning of the year stating the ways in which they want to be treated and then everyone signs it.
The contract hangs underneath the alphabet and next to students’ drawings of the invisible boy. On it the children have listed things like being kind, respectful, feeling included and listening to one another.
Goldsberry said that the most important qualities in a teacher are to be yourself and to be open-minded.
“You need to be who you are, then they [the students] can learn who they are, and they can find out it’s okay to be who they are,” she said.
Goldsberry also said that although she’s been doing the same thing for 50 years, it is always different and always challenging.
“You might be teaching the same things, but they don’t all learn it the same way,” she said. “So, it’s always a challenge and I’ve always like challenges.”
Goldsberry said that she would only retire if her health got bad or if she stopped enjoying teaching.
When asked what she loves most about teaching, Goldsberry responded with, “The kids. They’re the most important part.”
Mrs. Goldsberry reads the last page of the story to her students as they “ooh” and “awe” over the new mouse house. One kid raises his hand, concern etched in his face.
“How does Santa get in,” he says.
Goldsberry chuckles. “Well, it’s not Christmas,” she says. “Let’s not worry about that.”
The kids write down their final notes as she announces it’s time for P.E. The kids hurry to the door, and she walks them out. When she returns, she sighs, looking around her beautifully lived-in classroom, the smile on her face telling as much of a story as the rainbow-colored books lining her bookshelf.
MADELINE ARMSTRONG Today’s News-Herald www.havasunews.com
2023-08-22 08:00:00 , www.havasunews.com – Vivrr Local Results in news of type article