Rachel Adams

Rachel Adams, Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Tarawa Terrace Elementary School at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, sits in her classroom, April 19.

This week our featured teacher is Rachel Adams, who is a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Tarawa Terrace Elementary School.

Adams has been teaching at TT Elementary for six years, but she has a total of 23 years of experience in the educational field.

Adams graduated with a Bachelors in Arts degree from the University of North Carolina Charlotte and a Master’s in Education degree from East Carolina University.

Q. What encouraged you to pursue your job as an educator?

A. I fell in love with education and early intervention when I completed an internship at UNCC. Helping those little ones and watching them change and grow touched my heart. I knew that is what I wanted to do.

Q. What encouraged you to pursue education within your specific age level and curriculum?

A. I love the young children and watching them see things and learn for the first time. They light up as new discoveries are made.

Q. What is your main classroom philosophy?

A. I am not sure I truly have one. I tell parents that if a child loves to come to school, that is the first step in being successful and learning. 

Q. What is a lesson you have learned from your students?

A. They teach me that every little thing is truly a new discovery and to be patient.

Q. What is your favorite part of being an educator?

A. Watching a child learn and then carry that on. As I have taught students about animals, I have watched many grow and remember things years later. That is truly wonderful for an educator to see.

Q. What advice would you give to upcoming or new educators?

A. To remember each day is a new day and the children themselves do want to learn. However, each child is very different and it takes patience to figure out what works.

Q. What are three words that would describe your life outside of the classroom? (Hobbies, interests, etc.)

A. Family, sea turtles, paddle boarding.

Q. What is a favorite memory from your teaching career?

A. One of my favorite memories is when a dad came back from deployment and surprised his child. Every one of us cried tears of joy watching the little one see her dad for the first time.

Q. What advice would you give to a parent of a Pre-K student?

A. They are learning, but they think they are “just playing.” Also to remember that this is all new to them and their growth will be amazing to witness.

Q. What changes would you like to see implemented in the school system within the next 5 years?

A. I think we are moving toward more science and hands-on learning, even in the older grades. After a class at the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, I see how so much of our environment is centered on the coastal area.

However, there is little being taught at any grade that provides a lot of hands-on learning for the students in this coastal environment.

As the Green Team Coordinator, there is so much learning that could happen if we could take walks or trips to the nearby beach or water area. So much has happened in my classroom by just bringing in jellyfish, or using the critter cam to look at animals that are right here on campus.

I would love to see more of this added to that 21st century learning as students learn to become stewards of the area around them.

Q. What are the biggest challenges you face as an educator in a military town?

A. I think just that students are always meeting new people, new schools and it is important for us to be as consistent as we can be for these children.

Deployments affect all family members and our roles are more than just educators. As a military spouse, I have seen this first-hand. It takes a community rallying for these students.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share about being an educator?

A. Educators have a special role in children’s lives. We have to make it memorable. We have to challenge them, yet be their biggest fans and help find what they want to learn. It is all about finding that one thing that excites them into learning.

My class grows and learns, however, not because of me. The supportive parents, my amazing team and wonderful educational aide, Kim Lewellyn, all help the children be successful in my class.