Graider of the Month: Kayleigh Callender

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February Edition

We are thrilled to honor Kayleigh Callender as our February Graider of the Month and the first recipient of the Spring 2016 cohort! Kayleigh is a junior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and she will soon be certified to teach 6-12th grade History and English Literature. We're just one month into our new semester, and Kayleigh has already completed over 20 hours of grading support and received rave reviews from all five teachers she's paired with thus far. Kayleigh has been praised for her attention to detail, insight, and thorough work. We at The Graide Network are blown by her effort and excellence!

Kayleigh has always been a vociferous reader, writer, and history buff. Growing up, she was a Little House on the Prairie fan (who wasn't?!) and felt a connection to Miss Beadle, always admiring her passion and concern for her students' education. Kayleigh is excited to teach secondary education because of her deep love of history and English, her desire "to teach more content", and the close connections she had with her teachers when she herself was in high school.

In catching up with Kayleigh, we asked what's been her favorite part of participating in The Graide Network this semester, and we loved her answer! Kayleigh has broad experience working with high school students, but for one assignment she decided to work with a 7th grade teacher "to step out of her comfort zone." This assignment gave her a tremendous appreciation for middle school grade level expectations, curriculum, and student writing abilities, and she saw firsthand "the big leap from middle school to high school." Kudos Kayleigh for expanding your horizons! We think this is a fantastic endeavor for all of our Graiders to help further their knowledge and understanding of student development.

Kayleigh believes that one of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is the need for teachers to be more adaptable, to be open to new methods of teaching, and to find creative ways to move away from standardized tests and lectures. She's a big supporter of personalized learning, classroom learning stations, and portfolio-based assessment. We're confident that when Kayleigh enters the classroom she will be a passionate, hands-on, and forward-thinking teacher, and we can't wait to see all the good she'll accomplish!

Kayleigh's tip for new Graiders: Always write the comments first, noting the student's strengths, what he's doing well, areas he needs to work on, recurring problems, etc. Once you've got all of your thoughts organized and the feedback written down, it's much easier to assign a numerical score to the rubric component.