East Side kindergarten teacher loves working with “the little ones”

Published 12:35 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Zone North NW0324 Teacher Of The Year Rachel Howell

Rachel Howell has been an elementary school teacher for six years, and she has spent all of those educating children at East Side Elementary school.

The Elizabethton School Board recently recognized Howell for her efforts by naming her the pre-K through fourth grade Teacher of the Year for East Side.

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Howell has taught kindergarten for the past three years, and taught second grade for the first three years of her teaching career.

“I have the best job in the world,” Howell said. “Every day is different. It is never the same.”

Howell has always worked with children and was influenced by one of her own elementary school teachers to become an educator herself.

“Ms. Collins at Happy Valley Elementary really influenced me,” Howell said. “She was a really great teacher. Ms. Collins made learning fun and inspired me to want to do the same. I started working with children, and I have been ever since.”

During her time in school and in college, Howell worked with after-school programs that further cemented her desire to work as an elementary school teacher.

“I like the little ones,” she said. “I have been drawn to them from the start. They are so sweet and are a real pleasure to work with.”

During her classroom time, Howell uses different instruction methods to help the students learn the material in the way that is best for them. Her favorite part of the day is working with the kids in small groups to improve their reading skills.

“I like to work with hands-on projects with the children,” she said. “I want to give them meaningful, real-life experience so that they can connect what they are learning to the real world. Using different learning styles helps keep them engaged through the day.”

Howell’s colleagues at East Side nominated her for the Teacher of the Year honor.

“I was very surprised,” she said. “It is definitely an honor and I am pleased that I was recognized by my peers.”

Howell’s students agree with the decision to name their teacher the pre-K through fourth grade Teacher of the Year.

“She is the best teacher,” kindergartner Chloe McCann said. “She loves kids, and she takes care of us. She is helping us get to first grade.”

Josh Allen believes Howell is helping him improve his skills as a reader.

“She helps us read better,” he said. “She makes reading fun.”

Gabriel Myers agreed with his friend Josh that Ms. Howell is an excellent reading teacher.

“She makes us get smarter,” Gabriel said. “She reads us books, and she is so funny when she does.”

The students praised Howell for her presence outside the classroom as well.

“She is nice to us,”  Brooklyn Hurley said. “She takes us outside, but not all the time, only when it is warm. She is fun to hang out with.”

For Howell, spending time with her students is one of the biggest perks of being a teacher.

“Working with the children is definitely the best part of the job,” Howell said. “It is so rewarding to watching the change and grow as people.”