Jenny Netto nominated Katie Martin for Class Acts. Netto has a daughter in Martin's class and says her daughter bounces out of the house in the morning and begs to check her classroom over the weekend on the off chance her teacher might be there. Netto said Martin has a unique approach to language arts and math and infuses every minute with fun.
Name: Katie Martin
Occupation: First-grade teacher at Enslen Elementary School in Modesto
Family: Husband: Andy; two puppies: Allie and Ike
Background: Bachelor's degree in liberal studies from California State University, Chico; teaching credential from California State University, Sacramento; pursuing master's in elementary reading and mathematics
Teaching experience: Taught fifth grade for two years in the Waterford Unified School District and first grade for two years for Modesto City Schools.
Why did you get into teaching? I knew that I wanted to be a teacher at a very young age. I was raised by two excellent teachers and was fortunate enough to watch two people love going to work each day. I love children and wanted to choose a profession that would allow me to work with them as well as challenge me intellectually while allowing me to be creative.
What is your favorite part of being a teacher? The children. I enjoy seeing the unbelievable academic growth they make from the beginning to the end of the year. I also love their sweet innocence and incredible energy. The children are what make me excited to do what I do every day.
Favorite teaching tool or activity in the classroom: Laughter is my favorite activity and tool that I use every day in my classroom. I achieve this by making learning fun through interesting lessons, connecting to my students' lives, personal interests, or by just being a little silly. Laughter allows me to get the "buy in" I need, while allowing them to think school is an exciting place to be.
What's next in your classroom? We will be starting an in-depth study of the ocean and some of the amazing animals that live there.
Advice for new teachers: Stay positive and focused on what is important in your classroom. Set goals for yourself so that you can improve with every day that you teach. Set goals and expectations of your students as well so that they may be successful and reach their full potential.
Advice for students: Be the best you can be and never give up. Do not allow yourself to say "I can't." After all, if you believe it, you can achieve it.
Advice for parents: Talk to your child about what they learned at school each day. Let them know that you care about them and what they are learning.
How do you to reach students not interested in school? I find something they are interested in and start from there. I also spend a lot of time and effort thinking about lessons and how I can make them more fun and interesting.
What would surprise people about your job? Teaching is a very time-consuming profession. A teacher's job is not done simply when the students leave. There is a lot of planning, preparing, analyzing, discussing, meetings and organizing that must be done as well.
"Class Acts" is a weekly spotlight on outstanding teachers in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and foothills.See more of this week's Q&A at www.modbee.com. If you would like to nominate someone, please send his or her name and contact information, along with your name, phone number and the reason for the nomination,to firstname.lastname@example.org.