Degrees and Certifications:
I began my teaching career in 1989 as a first grade teacher at St. Helena Elementary in Beaufort, SC. It was an underprivileged community school where many of the children had Gullah backgrounds. My principal was Mrs. Myrtle Wilson, a wonderful grandmotherly type who taught me two lessons that I still practice today. One was to start and end the day with a hug. She knew the hugs we gave were sometimes the only ones our children received. The other thing she taught me is how important parent communication is. She said that when the parents are with you, the children are too.
After I was married, I continued my teaching career in Orangeburg, SC. I taught fourth grade, then first grade, and then in a multi-aged (kindergarten and first grade) program the district was trying. I loved having my students for two years and getting to know them and their parents so well!
My husband was transferred to Florence with his job in 2001. I began teaching first grade again and started training to teach in the elementary Montessori program. I was blessed to have Sister Anthonita Porta teach me about Maria Montessori’s philosophies. Sister Anthonita had a spirit that just made everyone she touched a better person. She taught the Montessori philosophies and many more lessons of life, and she did it all with flare! Her excitement over nurturing the spirit of children was contagious. She made me fall in love with teaching all over again, and especially with the Montessori method of teaching.
I have been teaching in an elementary Montessori classroom for many years. Maria Montessori’s philosophy of following the child has been challenging to accomplish in a standards driven public school environment. My colleagues and I have worked hard to create a program that both addresses the standards and allows students’ choice and freedom in their learning. Our program is thriving! My classroom consists of first, second, and third graders. When the third graders move on to fourth grade, a new set of first graders join us. My first and second graders become my second and third graders. It is easy to start each school year already knowing many of my students. The culture of my room remains calm and stable when two-thirds of the class returns each year. The younger children look up to the older ones as role models and the older children look forward to the opportunity to be mentors. I am blessed with parents who are involved and supportive in their children’s education. Having students for three years allows me to build relationships over a period of time with my children and their parents. The personal connections we have make our classroom prosper. I work with an outstanding group of teachers here at McLaurin that strive for the best for their students each day. I am blessed to have Mrs. Balutis as my assistant as she has a passion for our children's well-being. I feel fortunate to work in such a wonderful place!
Degrees and Certifications: