Reader’s Choice

Pa­tience, flex­i­bil­ity keys to Kn­abe’s suc­cess

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Her Feature -

Sarah Kn­abe, sec­ond-grade teacher at Lake Hamil­ton School District, is driven by her passion for stu­dents. Re­cip­i­ent of the 2017 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Teacher of the Year from The Sentinel-Record, Kn­abe started her 12th year teach­ing at Lake Hamil­ton this year. Prior to her ca­reer at Lake Hamil­ton, she taught first grade at Malvern School District for two years.

What made you get into teach­ing in the first place?

Sarah Kn­abe: I al­ways wanted to be a teacher. I just like work­ing with kids, I like watch­ing them grow and learn. I like the lit­tle ones; I don’t know if I could go above sec­ond grade.

What’s your fa­vorite part of what you do?

SK: There’s a few dif­fer­ent things. The main thing, and I think any teacher would prob­a­bly say this, would just be that ‘ah-ha’ mo­ment when they get it and they’re just so proud of them­selves and you can just see their con­fi­dence be­cause they un­der­stand and they get it. So that would be the main thing. Then, and this is more to­ward Lake Hamil­ton, it’s just like a lit­tle fam­ily. I have two dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies where I’ve taught all three of the si­b­lings. You’re a fam­ily, you get to know each other and they grow up want­ing to be in your class be­cause their older si­b­lings had you. It’s just that fam­ily atmosphere; it’s just dif­fer­ent here.

What about your dis­likes?

SK: I re­ally don’t have any dis­likes! We were at din­ner the other night and ev­ery­body was grip­ing about some­thing and my hus­band said, ‘Ev­ery­body can gripe about some­thing about their job, ex­cept for Sarah.’

What is your ed­u­ca­tion back­ground?

SK: I have my bach­e­lor’s de­gree in Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion from Univer­sity of Cen­tral Arkansas, I have one mas­ter’s de­gree in Ed­u­ca­tional The­ory and Prac­tice from ASU, I have an­other mas­ter’s de­gree in Gifted, Ta­lented and Cre­ative from ASU, and I’m also a na­tional board cer­ti­fied teacher. That usu­ally takes three years to do; luck­ily I passed the first year. It’s just this spe­cial cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. It doesn’t mean that we can teach in other states or any­thing, it’s just kind of like a highly qual­i­fied teacher. We get a bonus from the state for do­ing that.

What qual­i­ties must one have to be an el­e­men­tary school teacher?

SK: They have to have a lot of pa­tience and be very flex­i­ble be­cause noth­ing ever goes as planned. Not just from the kids, but new laws are al­ways be­ing made, ev­ery­thing’s chang­ing, you never do the same thing.

What’s a typ­i­cal day like for you at work?

SK: In sec­ond grade we’re self-con­tained so we teach every sub­ject. The main big chunks are read­ing and math but we in­te­grate our science and so­cial stud­ies into our read­ing. Every 20-30 min­utes is some­thing new.

How did you feel when you found out you were Best Teacher of the Year?

SK: It was re­ally ex­cit­ing. Last year I got sec­ond place and it was to­tally out of the blue. Then this year I was like, ‘Oh, I won’t get it again,’ be­cause there were so many peo­ple on that list that were so de­serv­ing I didn’t think I would get it at all, so I was re­ally sur­prised. We don’t get a lot of recog­ni­tion.

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