Teacher of the Year Profiles » Chelsey Newman

Chelsey Newman

2023-24 Teacher of the Year: L.L. Beazley Elementary School
Question-Answer Session
 
NewmanChelsey Newman
 

How Long Have You Been Part of the PGCPS Family?

I have been a part of the PGCPS Family for a wonderful three years. I am a learning specialist at Beazley Elementary and have been blessed with some great kiddos for three years. My home is in my classroom, and our classroom family has grown for the last three years.

 

Please Share Your Thoughts on Being Named Teacher of the Year & What This Recognition Means to You.

Teacher of the Year is such an honor, not one that I am sure that I deserve. After being announced, the amount of love and support that was shared with me left me absolutely speechless. To say that I am honored is not enough; I am blessed. 
 
Every day, teachers walk around and are not recognized enough, not just me but all teachers. Teacher of the Year means that I have been seen, that I have been recognized, and that I am making a difference in not just my students but my coworkers. How can anyone put that kind of emotion into words? It is not possible. My heart could literally explode from happiness, gratitude, love, and appreciation. 
 
Again, I am not sure that I deserve this award and honor because it was the entire school, staff, and students that made me the teacher that I am. So they, all of them, they should be awarded Teacher of the Year. Accepting Teacher of the Year means that I am accepting on behalf of all of them, not just me (even though it is extremely awesome) because without them I wouldn't be Teacher of the Year. 

 

What Inspired You to Enter the World of Teaching and Education?

Honestly, I had no idea why I became a teacher when I started initially. I knew that I needed to make some life changes, so I decided to go back to college and get my degree in education. I knew that my family needed me more and that I needed a career in which I could advance and grow, and that was not where I was in my life.
 
While I was student teaching, I was offered a job at Beazley, and little did I know at the time that I was finding my forever family and home. Dr. Clay and Mrs. McKay saw something in me that I had no idea existed. After my first year of teaching, I slowly started to realize what inspired me to become a teacher. It was "them." 
 
Who is "them?" Them is all of my students, my coworkers, the parents I work with, the community, my family, the ones who don't have a voice, the ones that need extra support; I did it for all of "them." I knew after my first year that I was an advocate for all of "them." They needed me, so I decided then and there that I was never going to settle for being a good teacher. I would never stop doing what I needed to do to be better, smarter, and stronger. 
 
To recap, I would say that selfish reasons inspired me to enter the world of teaching and education. However, now I can say that no longer holds true. 
 
My inspiration every day is "them." All of "them." 

 

Do You Have A Special Memory or Moment from This School Year You Would Like to Share?

Honestly, there are too many to share, making it extremely hard to narrow down a selection to one.
 
My ultimate favorite moment of this school year would be my name change. I know that sounds like the silliest thing, but it's true. At the beginning of the school year, my name still remained Mrs. Newman. Everyone would call me my actual name. 
 
As the school year carried on, I had a student start calling me Mrs. Mewton (not sure how the change came about). Over and over I would try to correct the student with my real name, working extra hard talking about the letters and letter sounds, breaking my name apart. No matter what I did or how many times I corrected, I just could not escape the name Mrs. Mewton.
 
Here we are, almost approaching the end of the school year, and I no longer answer to Mrs. Newman. If you don't call me Mrs. Mewton, I will most likely not respond.
 
Now I own a sweatshirt that says, "My favorite people call me Mrs. Mewton," and I wear it all the time. 

 

Finally, What Do You Consider the Most Important Lesson You Help Students Learn?

The most important lesson I help my students learn is that everything is okay.

 

I know that seems extremely vague, but it is so true. In my classroom home, we learn that it is okay to be upset, make a mistake, feel amazing, ask for help, or just be okay. All too often, we forget that if we stop, take a minute, think, and then act, things will be okay. I don't want my students to ever have a bad day at school or in life; we strive to be as positive and optimistic as possible for our students.

 

If my students cannot embrace their mistakes and their "uh-ohs" and say it is okay, I am not doing my job. School should not be stressful and negative but rather a place where they can be comfortable and excited to learn. No one can grow if there is always a yucky rain cloud of darkness above their heads.

 

Rather, I teach them to say okay, embrace it all, and move on. We build upon our goodness, shortcomings, and everything else, and it is okay.