Kinder­garten in­spirer, pa­per­back writer

Palmer-Stone teacher now a pub­lished au­thor

The Covington News - - School Beat - By Jenny Thompson

Kr­ishna Wil­liams, teacher at Palmer- Stone El­e­men­tary School, left Michi­gan for Ge­or­gia so she could teach kinder­garten.

She said teacher de­mo­graph­ics in her home state don’t leave much room for new grad­u­ates to squeeze into the sys­tem, so she moved to the South where jobs in ed­u­ca­tion are plen­ti­ful.

Through www. teach­ge­or­gia. com she found two open­ings in the New­ton County School Sys­tem for a kinder­garten teacher, which she wanted to be.

“ They’re just so much fun and they’re so ex­cited about learn­ing,” Wil­liams said. “ Kin­der­garten­ers are also very free and don’t re­ally think of what oth­ers think yet.”

As a child, Wil­liams wanted to be a pe­di­a­tri­cian un­til she be­gan to re­search the pro­fes­sion as a ju­nior in high school.

“ When I thought about it,” Wil­liams said, “ I only had one pe­di­a­tri­cian grow­ing up, and he was nice, but he wasn’t some­one I looked up to.”

Since she vividly re­mem­bered her fa­vorite teach­ers from child­hood, she set out to be­come an ed­u­ca­tor, who count­less stu­dents would have their first school ex­pe­ri­ences with in kinder­garten.

“ I try to get them to re­al­ize learn­ing is so im­por­tant and you don’t have to only learn at school — you can learn any­where,” Wil­liams said.

A large part of her work on her mas­ter’s de­gree stemmed from the idea of “ habits of mind,” which if stu­dents mas­ter will help them all through school in ev­ery sub­ject. The habits are per­sis­tence, self­con­trol and check­ing for ac­cu­racy.

Wil­liams’ class­room has a “ Race to Suc­cess” wall which records stu­dents’ progress to­ward learn­ing the 300 sight words they must be able to iden­tify by the end of their kinder­garten year.

Stu­dents re­ceive prizes

The love of teach­ing: such as candy, small toys or books for com­plet­ing sets of 25 and re­ceive one of each prize when they reach the fin­ish line.

“ Since it’s a race, ev­ery­body wants to par­tic­i­pate,” Wil­liams said.

She said by mak­ing a big to- do when some­one’s car is moved, the stu­dents learn to cel­e­brate other’s suc­cesses.

How­ever, teach­ing five and six- year- olds does present its chal­lenges.

Many times Wil­liams’ stu­dents have never been in a school en­vi­ron­ment.

“ Some­times it’s chal­leng­ing be­cause they have so much en­ergy and I have to keep up and chan­nel their en­ergy and get them all to fo­cus on one thing,” Wil­liams said.

Wil­liams’ fa­vorite part of teach­ing kin­der­garten­ers is watch­ing them learn to read.

“ They’ll come in some morn­ings and say ‘ we were driv­ing down the road and we saw a sign that said play — do you re­mem­ber when you taught us that word,’” Wil­liams said.

She said she tries to ex­plain to her stu­dents how read­ing can take you on an ad­ven­ture and how writ­ing is a way to take oth­ers on an ad­ven­ture.

Wil­liams said she has al­ways been a writer.

“All the time when I was lit­tle I would carry a jour­nal or a book,” Wil­liams said.

While in col­lege, Wil­liams be­gan or­ga­niz­ing her thoughts and re­al­ized most of her neg­a­tive feel­ings stemmed from the im­pact of not grow­ing up with a fa­ther fig­ure in her life.

Last fall, she put her jour­nal en­tries into novel form and pub­lished “ The Love of the Fa­ther” through AuthorHouse pub­lish­ing. The book is avail­able through the Ama­zon, Barnes & Nobles and Tar­get Web sites.

How­ever, re­ceiv­ing roy­alty checks has not been the most re­ward­ing part of pub­lish­ing the book.

Wil­liams said teach­ers of­ten do not have much of a di­a­logue with teach­ers out­side of their grade level, but the book has started con­ver­sa­tions be­tween teach­ers who nor­mally wouldn’t chat.

She said be­cause of the emo­tional na­ture of the book she has got­ten to know sev­eral teach­ers very well.

Even though Wil­liams is now a pub­lished au­thor, she said she wants to con­tinue to teach for a long while.

“ I love teach­ing,” Wil­liams said, “ but I’d like to teach and travel in the sum­mer and talk to young peo­ple about fol­low­ing their goals.”

Jenny Thompson/The Cov­ing­ton News

Kr­ishna Wil­liams, kinder­garten teacher at Palmer- Stone El­e­men­tary, had her book “ The Love of the Fa­ther” pub­lished in Oc­to­ber of 2007.

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