ExperiencePlus! is very pleased to announce that Kelly Barofsky a 1st grade teacher from Prospect Elementary School in Clarendon Hills, Illinois is our 2013 Send A Teacher Traveling Award (S.A.T.T.) winner. Kelly wowed us with her enthusiasm and passion for teaching and we thought you all might enjoy getting to know her and her work in the classroom.
So now that you’ve recovered from the shock — how does it feel to be the 2013 S.A.T.T. winner? It feels incredible! I truly feel like the luckiest teacher ever to have been given this amazing opportunity. I am still in shock though because I am writing this only 24 hours after receiving the phone call!
Who was the first person you shared the news with? I called my boyfriend, Ken who was on a business trip in Boston. I rarely call him during the work day and I called him from my school phone number so he didn’t recognize that it was me calling. He seemed a little nervous to be hearing from me during the school day. I started really calm and cool wishing him a Happy 1 year Anniversary….and then I said, so the real reason I’m calling is BECAUSE I WON THE TRIP…and then I was no longer calm and cool!
Have you told your students? Yes, I told them right away! I spoke with Julie at ExperiencePlus! about winning the trip while my students were at Art class. I picked them up in the Art Room about 10 minutes after the call and told them the amazing news. They were all jumping up and down and yelling and hugging me and they were so happy for me. They acted like THEY won the prize. Their reaction was very heart warming. Since then, I have gotten so many lovely emails from their parents telling me how their kids are so excited for me and offering me congratulations too.
You have tied your passion for riding to your teaching, can you tell us a little about that? I have! I LOVE incorporating my bike rides into my writing lessons with my students. I have showed them it’s so much easier to write about something we are passionate and excited about because I demonstrate that during Writing Workshop almost every day.
What inspires you most about your teaching? My students! I love working with young children because they are so excited about everything! They want to come to school and they want to learn how to read and do “hard” math. Seeing and hearing their excitement every day when they learn something new is a pretty amazing feeling.
Have you seen any changes in how kids react/participate in class over the years? Kids are definitely more technologically savvy these days than in the past. You can give them a computer or an iPad and they know what to do, how to work it and they have no fear about trying something new. But, they are only 6 years old and they really love to play! Over the years one thing has always remained the same…recess, P.E. and Free Choice are their favorite times of the school day!
Describe your perfect day in the classroom. Well, I teach 1st grade….so I’m not sure there is really such a thing! Every day with young children is filled with surprises. A few things that make my days perfect though include applause when I get done reading a great story…..getting notes and pictures on my desk……hugs at the end of the day when they are leaving……and that look in their eyes when they “get it”.
What are you most excited to share with your students once you return from your cycling trip? I love telling and writing stories, so I can’t wait to share my photos and all of my experiences by writing about them. I also would love to share some writing and photos by blogging my experience while I’m actually on the trip if it’s possible. I’m not sure I can wait until August to tell them all about it.
What do you enjoy the most about riding your bike? Being on my bike, surrounded by beauty and nature and wildlife has been such a blessing in my life. Riding with friends has strengthened friendships and taught me new things about the people I love and respect. Riding my bike gives me time to be alone and quiet and reflect on my life and my teaching and my relationships. You see things differently when you’re on a bike instead of in a car. You hear things, you smell things and sometimes you even meet new people along the way. I’ve lost ten pounds, my students think it’s super cool to wear a helmet now, my son and daughter see their mom being active and setting and reaching goals, and I have even inspired my friends to ride too. But best of all, I have so many wonderful stories to write about and share with my class.
Does your bike have a name? No! But, I do think it’s very pretty!
Our summer schedule has a number of trips in various countries including, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Hungary – how will you decide where to go? When I read the list of choices I knew pretty instantly that I would pick Italy. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go but didn’t think I’d ever get to! My dad’s family is from Italy and I would like to see a little of my ancestor’s home country.