Daphne Shilling knows how to make learning fun for her students. In fact, many times Shilling's students have no idea their classroom activities are full of teachable moments. "That's the things about stories, if you pull in parts of the story that makes them think oh that reminds me of something with my life then it makes it mean a whole lot more and helps build connections in their brains."
Shilling started her teaching career 16-years ago and loves working with 1st graders on reading and phonics. Student Connor Leming says "I like my teacher the best and she's really great and I like learning and stuff and reading and I like homework." Student Linda Huynh says "I like to do math with her. Because you can learn more."
Shilling says when she started her career, other teachers told her to be stern and not smile at her class until Christmas. "If the kids come in and you're barking at them all day trying to be this stern teacher and you don't use that personality and smile and you don't make it silly and fun then they're just not going to listen to you."
Instead, Shilling greets her class at the door with a smile each day. She believes creating a positive, loving atmosphere pays off... especially for students with learning disabilities. "And now he's starting to read, he's very comfortable, he wrote in his journal today and wrote about 8 sentences and I about cried. I thought a month ago that wasn't going to happen."
It's being a witness to that progress that Shilling calls the best part of her job.