After two years of serving as a preschool teacher aide, April Long accepted a fulltime position at Madison Traditional Academy in the Madison School District. The Arizona native, who attended school in the same district as a child, says although she couldn’t have predicted her current role as a teaSep 21, 2016
After two years of serving as a preschool teacher aide, April Long accepted a fulltime position at Madison Traditional Academy in the Madison School District. The Arizona native, who attended school in the same district as a child, says although she couldn’t have predicted her current role as a teacher, she’s loving it.
You wouldn’t guess that a preschool teacher would fess up to the fact that she only completed about a month of the grade she’s teaching, but that’s just what she did. April Long, a teacher at Madison Traditional Academy in the Madison School District, says she only has a few memories from her short-lived pre-kindergarten days.
“I screamed so much, and my mom wasn’t tough enough to leave me there. One thing I remember is making a construction paper penguin and giving it to my Uncle Kenny. Still, to this day, it’s in his old bass case that he keeps under his bed,” Long, an Arizona State University alumna, explains.
Despite the sweet memory, the wife and mother of two never guessed she’d be back where she started her education.
“I studied history and geography in college, and actually worked for a few years at Madison Meadows Middle School in the special education department. But after that, I did restaurant management for many years,” she explains.
Although Madison School District has seen changes over the years, Long is very familiar with the variety of programs offered. Before her time in special education, she worked in the after-school program at Madison Park Middle School. Even with these two previous experiences in education, she claims she couldn’t have predicted her current role.
“I’m loving it, but I never would have put myself here 10 years ago,” she admits.
Long says what she loves most about teaching the young class is seeing their monumental progress from the start of school to the end of the year.
“I’m amazed, every day, by all they can do. You watch them throughout their first two years in a school environment and prepare them to go onto the main campus for kindergarten. I feel like I’m a big part of their educational foundation,” she explains. “Plus, having my own young children gives me extra compassion for the kids and families.”
While relatability is key, the need to understand classroom management and standards is imperative. For expertise in these areas, Long says she looks to her colleagues for encouragement and guidance.
“Last year, in October, the teacher I worked with had to go on leave. At that point, I took over teaching and then co-taught upon her return. Yes, I got thrown into it, but sometimes you learn best when you’re living and breathing it. I have a good understanding of what needs to be done, but now the fun part is finding my own way to do it. I have great teachers around me, and I’m certainly not afraid to look to them and ask for help when needed.”
As teachers, whether beginning or veteran, we strive to make the most out each second we spend with our learners. If you’re looking to learn new ways to master the moments, register now for Time Management: How to Get the Most out of Your Day (Pre-K-2) on Oct. 18 with National Board Certified Teacher LeAnna Wolkis.