As a first-year teacher at an international school in China, Keely Quiring wasn’t sure what to expect, though she sure learned a lot. She was able to work with and learn from people from the U.K., Australia, China, and Taiwan. They supported her throughout her first year of teaching students from another culture who did not speak English as a first language.
Ms. Quiring relied on visuals to combat the language barriers in the classroom – and to keep her lessons fun. After teaching for a year in China, she made the switch to teaching kindergarten at Westfield Charter Academy following a referral from a previous employee who spoke highly about the principal.
Though she’s only been with Westfield since last year, she quickly adapted to virtual teaching and her visuals have come with her.
“Ms. Quiring is the one of the most talented and caring teachers I have had the pleasure to work with!” said Ira Kleiman, principal at Westfield. “She develops positive relationships with her students based on mutual trust and respect. She invested time in creating an amazing interactive and visually appealing Google Classroom that is highly engaging and easy to navigate for students and families. This has enabled her to provide an excellent education to her virtual kindergarten class.”
Her easy-to-follow Google Classroom is set up by the day of the week, and each has its own emoji (think a taco for Tuesday and a camel for Wednesday). Ms. Quiring and her para work hard to create daily lesson PowerPoints to keep students engaged in hopes that their class will be more focused and excited to learn. For example, when there’s a video to watch, she’ll plop the eyeball emoji in to direct her students that it’s time to watch. But her emoji use doesn’t stop there – she infuses it consistently into her lessons.
Ms. Quiring’s experience with kindergarten has been that kids come into their first year of school with varying levels of knowledge and background. She mentioned that while some students walk in the door knowing how to read, others come in with less certainty with letters, numbers, and name recognition.
“I have always believed that what is crucial to some can be beneficial to all,” said Ms. Quiring. “The time that I take to create the visuals for kindergarten, whether it’s a GIF to get them excited about a topic or CHAMPS icons, proves to support all the children in my class and makes their learning experience better than it may be without them.”
She also reflects that the visuals benefit her as the teacher because they support student independence. With the help of visual reminders, her students can move beyond relying on her to answer all their questions about what they should be doing or how they should act.
“Ms. Quiring has set the bar for what virtual teaching can be and has selflessly shared her knowledge and expertise with other teachers enabling them to deliver a high-quality virtual education as well,” said Principal Kleiman.
Keep up the excellent virtual work, Ms. Quiring!
From China to Home, One Westfield Teacher’s Visuals are Sure to Engage
Published: Nov 20, 2020Haley Brink
Haley is a communications specialist who enjoys nature. She’s also just trying to keep her office plants alive.
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