Kirby Jarzombek Gentry, BSEd ’20, MSEd ’21
Bryant Elementary, Prosper ISD
District First-Year Teacher of the Year
I started my first year of teaching and graduated with my MSEd the same week! Baylor’s School of Education simply could not have prepared me any more for my first year of teaching.
I owe so much of what I have done this this year to the Baylor School of Education, as well as the mentor teachers I had during my time in schools at Baylor. Many of the activities I use in my classroom were modeled for me in graduate school or in my teacher prep classes.
Although I was still very nervous on the first day, I felt confident and calm approaching relationship building with my students and their families, classroom management, and teaching academic content.
I felt comfortable participating in team planning sessions, data talks and staff meetings because of Baylor’s preparation. Of course, there were hard days and many days where I went home exhausted, but the hard work paid off as I built such positive relationships with my 26 kids!
I am teaching in a fast growth district and was not prepared for the number of new students I would continue to get as the year progressed. My third graders even convinced me to volunteer for the school fundraiser’s dunk tank. Although I was hesitant at first, this ended up being one of my favorite memories from the year, as it bonded my class so much. My class was truly a family and I cannot wait to see this group of students come back in August as fourth graders!
As inspiration to future first-year teachers, here’s my favorite teacher quote:
“So often you find that the students you’re trying to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring you.” — Sean Junkins