FLUSHING — Elementary school teacher Sarah Decker has been chosen as the Flushing Education Association’s (FEA) Teacher of the Month for February. Decker, who teaches fourth grade at Central Elementary School, has been with Flushing Community Schools since 2012. She received her teaching degree from Saginaw Valley State University in 2005.
Below is a Q&A session between Decker and the
FEA: Why did you become a teacher?
SD: I remember playing “school” as a five-year old. My mom has pictures of me with old glasses on, pencil behind the ear, and displaying a picture book for my stuffed animals to see. It was a passion I had then that developed more in my teenage years. Ultimately, I decided to be a teacher because of the impact my teachers had on me. I was a child who struggled with reading in elementary school and the support, patience, strategies and hope that many of my teachers showed me was inspiring. I wanted to be an inspiration for young children too. I believe some of the best teachers were students who once struggled.
FEA: What motivates you to put in the blood, sweat, and tears that education requires?
SD: My motivation for teaching comes from simply wanting the best future for all my students; whether it’s teaching them math, reading, social skills, character strengths, etc. I hope the lessons, feedback and conversation we’ve had help to shape them, and they carry these experiences with them on life’s journey.
FEA: What role do teachers have in the community?
SD: I feel the role of a teacher in our community is to create a partnership with families, support and advocate for kids, and to hear what children often do not say. In addition, building lasting relationships with students ensures they know how special and important they are!
FEA: What is a moment you’d like to share from your profession?
SD: I’ve had so many moments that have made me laugh until I cry, and then those that pull at your heartstring for many years. My best moments in teaching are when I am the student, and my students are the teachers. My teaching career started in southern Florida at a Spanish-speaking school. I learned a lot about their culture, community and creatures! I was shocked the first time we had indoor recess because there was an alligator on the playground; the times my second graders coached me into killing banana spiders and cockroaches in the classroom; and how we played the “snake game” jumping over the snakes sunbathing on the sidewalk after the rain on our way to the bus loop. They enjoyed teaching (and teasing) me about all these creatures! Currently, I continue to be the student, as my amazing Central fourth graders help me navigate online learning with their daily technology tips and tricks! When one teaches, two learn, is truer this year than ever before!