First-grade teacher Joanna Welch loves being a part of the family at Good Shepherd Catholic School! Get to know her and her dedication to growing compassionate, lifelong learners.
Where did you grow up?
I’m originally from the Boston area in Massachusetts.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I played school as a kid with my stuffed animals, but for a while, I thought I wanted to go into nursing! When I took my first anatomy class though, I knew that it wasn’t for me.
\What’s your favorite concept to teach?
Reading was my favorite thing in school, and it’s my favorite thing to teach. I love watching my students become better readers and fall in love with reading! Mo Willems is my favorite author to teach in class. He writes very comical books with a lot of dialogue and fun characters that the students love, like pigeons and elephants and pigs.
What’s your favorite thing about teaching first grade?
The kids! They’re at such a sweet age; when they’re 6 years old, they’re still very excited to come to school — almost to a fault! Their parents will email me and say, “my child has a cough, but they really don’t want to miss their centers!” I love being able to spark that excitement in learning.
How does your past experience affect your approach to teaching now?
I have a sign in my classroom that says, “Work hard and be nice to people,” and I really try to instill that in my kids and practice what I preach. My goal is to model a Christ-like behavior both inside and outside of the classroom.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
I’m teaching 6 year-olds right now, but over time they’re going to become adults. They’re not going to remember a lot of people in their life, but they’re going to remember their teacher. And the fact that I’m in a job where someone at 65 can tell you who their teacher was — that’s a pretty important job. The impact you make is the most important thing.
What do you hope your students take away from being in your classroom?
I hope they become lifelong learners and that they grow up to be kind people. The first thing I tell parents is that I’m not here for the summer vacation and I’m not here for the teacher discount; I’m here because I love your child and I care about your child.
Get to Know Joanna Welch
Q: How did you end up in Florida?
A: Around middle school, my family moved to the Tampa area, and I ended up in Orlando because I went to UCF to get the Elementary Education degree. I have a lot of teachers in my family, so it’s always been a passion.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: When I’m not teaching, I love to go to Disney. We like Epcot and walking around the countries and sampling different foods. I also love to read! Education is my passion, so a lot of my pastimes are reading teacher blogs. Once you’re a teacher, your whole life is teaching! I also love yoga and spending time with friends over dinner and catching up.
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: My favorite book of all time is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. But I like to read a lot of self-help books; I like to read non-fiction as well, I love a good inspirational read!
Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: I like lots of different foods, but coffee is what I couldn’t live without. I know that’s not a food, but it’s on the high priority list for me.
Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
A: I would definitely NOT want to read minds, although that would be helpful at times. I think the ability to time travel! That would be [cool] to go back in time and reminisce and go to the future and know that even when things are hard you’re going to get through it.
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