WoFo’s Teacher Spotlight is on Kellye Statz

WoFo’s Teacher Spotlight features awesome educators who are dedicated to teaching and inspiring young people everyday.

In this edition, WoFo features English teacher, coach and one of my former students Kellye Statz. I would like to thank Kellye for her interview and for her dedication to the teaching profession.

Students are highly intuitive and if you’re not feeling confident and energized, they’ll feed off that.

Besides being a teacher Kellye Statz is….

an assistant field hockey and girls lacrosse coach, an occasional tutor and curriculum writer, a passionate Harry Potter fan, and a proud, new homeowner.

Where do you currently teach, what do you teach and for how long?

I currently am in my third year of teaching English at Montgomery High School in Skillman, NJ. This year, I teach college prep 11th grade and AP Language and Composition, but I have taught all grades throughout my tenure.

What is your favorite lesson to teach and why?

My favorite lesson to teach is any lesson in which I notice that students are “getting” it and I can tell that they are invested in what they are learning. For example, I just did a lesson with my students about fake news and digital literacy and it was great to see them engage in passionate discussion about matters that directly affect them. One of my other favorite lessons is anytime I get to “discover” a plot twist or surprise ending or a great pun in a story with my students (an example is in the play, The Crucible, when John Proctor forgets that “thou shalt not commit adultery” is one of the ten commandments and his wife needs to help him remember…ahhhh!).

If for one day you where in charge of your school what would you do?

If I was in charge for one day, I would let teachers co-teach with colleagues from other departments to complete large multidisciplinary projects with the students. I would want to spend time speaking with more teachers outside of my department so that we could talk about potential issues or things that we notice with students. I would then schedule a school-wide floor hockey tournament and a mid-day mandatory nap break.

If you could write one quote on the board for your students what would it be?

“Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space” or “keep it classy, not sassy”

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

If I wasn’t a teacher, I would be a part-time gardener or an astronaut. I would also become Ted Allen’s co-host on “Chopped” (I have been working on my cloche-lifting skills).

What advice would you give to all new teachers?

I am still a new teacher myself. Some of the things that I need to remind myself is that as arduous and straining teaching can be, it is still one of the most beautiful professions and that I have a passion for it; I have to consistently remind myself that my students are future voters and citizens and engineers and poets and the potential impact I have in their lives is a huge gift.
Additionally, I would tell a new teacher that it is okay to have fear and uncertainty. The doubts you have on day one eventually turn into strengths and get replaced by new doubts and uncertainties, which ultimately molds you into an amazing educator.
Also, some of the best advice I have ever gotten is “you can’t win an argument with a teenager” and it is true (which is why having good rubrics and a positive attitude will take you far). Finally, I would say that new teachers (and also veterans) need to make time for themselves. Students are highly intuitive and if you’re not feeling confident and energized, they’ll feed off that.
If the best thing about teaching is the students, what’s the second best thing?

The second-best thing about being a teacher is the relationship that you form with colleagues. They are the ones who listen to you and give you advice. The friendships I have gained in my profession are invaluable. Good colleagues inevitably lead to strong teaching because this is not a career in which you can thrive in solitude. Another great perk is that I get to embrace my inner (and outer) nerd everyday. It is fun when your quirks impact your students in some way; there is no better feeling when a student tells you about a book he or she read…for fun!

Who inspires you?

My students and my family inspire me. They push me and challenge me. The beautiful diversity of my students inspires me and makes me work harder. I love to teach because I learn from my students everyday. The constant support of my family makes the long days even more worthwhile. Also, my former teachers inspire me. My good and bad memories as a student serve as a reminder of why I teach.

My classroom superpower is…

being able to hear and see all things that go on in the classroom (even when I am across the room). The concept of having “eyes in the back of my head” seemed silly to me until I became a teacher, but now I realize that I have a real gift. It is a great feeling when you can tell Student A to stop kicking Student B’s backpack while helping Student C with his thesis statement. I would say that a close second superpower is how amazing my handwriting looks when I write with a black, chisel-tip Expo marker on a clean whiteboard.

Do you know an awesome educator dedicated to inspiring and teaching others? If so, please consider nominating them to be featured on WoFo’s  Teacher Spotlight Series. You can send their contact information to writeonfighton@gmail.com.

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.