Last summer, Keisha Hopkins Kibler packed up her old classroom in Preston County and prepared to move her teaching materials to a new building not far away.
Kibler, a Mercer County native and 2003 graduate of CEHS’ five-year teacher education program, has spent the last 12 years as an English and language arts teacher in Arthurdale, W.Va. She spent the majority of that time at West Preston Middle School, which transitioned to a new K-8 building (renamed as West Preston School) at the beginning of the 2016 school year.
“It was an emotional experience for me,” Kibler said. “A lot of teachers got started there.”
Many young teachers did get their start at West Preston Middle School. In fact, many started in Kibler’s classroom, and many more will continue to learn from Kibler in her new classroom at West Preston School. In her time as an educator, Kibler has served as a supervising teacher for 12 CEHS preservice teachers, many of whom are now working in classrooms throughout the state of West Virginia.
Kibler encourages her preservice teachers to try new techniques in the classroom and to put their knowledge to practical use.
“My classroom is a space where preservice teachers can bridge theory to practice, make mistakes and learn how to grow [the class] as a community,” Kibler said.
And as the adjunct professor of two English methods courses at WVU, Kibler has more insight into her preservice teachers’ backgrounds than most other supervising teachers.
“It’s an interesting dynamic for me, because I know what they are learning in the classroom” Kibler said.
Though most of the preservice teachers who work with Kibler are only in her classroom for eight weeks, the relationships she’s formed with them have continued long afterwards.
“I still talk to many of my former preservice teachers, sometimes on a weekly basis,” Kibler said. “They’ll call to ask me a question, get advice on something that’s going on in their classrooms, and sometimes, just to talk.”
One of those former preservice teachers, Tim Mittan, is now an English and language arts teacher right down the hall from Kibler. Mittan holds his master of arts in curriculum from CEHS and was also a student in Kibler’s English methods courses. Over the course of their relationship, Kibler has taught Mittan some key lessons about being an educator.
“Keisha taught me the importance of being aware of my students’ backgrounds,” Mittan said. “Some of our students go home and deal with things that kids should never have to deal with. Knowing that changes my approach to teaching.”
Kibler’s outstanding service as a supervising teacher was recognized when she was named the inaugural recipient of the Di Tosto and Marockie Outstanding Supervising Teacher Award. The award, established by Drs. Evelyn Di Tosto and Mary Marockie, provides $1,000 each year to a full-time supervising teacher with at least ten years of experience who has mentored at least four full-time student teachers.
“I was shocked when I found out that I received this award,” Kibler said. “There are many deserving educators who work with preservice teachers, so it was an honor to be chosen.”
In order to continue to learn and grow as an educator Kibler is currently pursuing her doctorate in curriculum, literacy and cultural studies from CEHS. According to Kibler, her time as a student here has molded her into the teacher she is today.
“At CEHS, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be a lifelong learner,” Kibler said. “The College planted that seed in my mind and has given me the tools to do that. It’s what keeps me going in the field.”
For more about the Di Tosto and Marockie Outstanding Supervising Teacher Award, look out for the CEHS Spring 2017 Magazine, which will be mailed in June.
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