Kindergarten teacher watches students transform

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2021

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Courtney Peacock, a kindergarten teacher at Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary, can’t imagine a job more rewarding than what she currently does, and it was by a blessing in disguise that she ever got to try it. Seventeen years ago, she started out teaching the fifth grade at the same school. Three years later, she was required to teach kindergarten instead. The principal at the time said she could eventually return to teaching fifth graders.

“I got in kindergarten, and I just absolutely loved it,” Peacock said. “My mother was a kindergarten teacher for years and years and years, and it was a really cool thing to be able to kind of follow in her footsteps.”

What Peacock loves the most about teaching kindergarteners is how fast they learn.

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“There’s so much growth in the year of kindergarten and with five and six year olds that it is probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said. “You get these babies at the beginning of the year who may know a couple of letters or maybe can write a little bit. And then at the end of the year, they are reading books, they are writing stories, they’re doing complicated math problems. And it’s just this transformation that I truly do not believe happens in any other grade.”

It’s probably because of Peacock’s passion for her job that she was chosen as her school’s teacher of the year for 2021-2022. She was very surprised when she heard the announcement over the school intercom last Friday, especially since she had received the same title several years ago. She said that this year, parents and community members sent in letters recommending which teachers to pick.

Peacock aims to make learning as engaging as possible. Students know her for doing classroom transformations, teaching on top of tables, and for her peacock sound that she teaches them. Last Friday, her classroom was a bat cave.

“I really try to take learning to another level and create those uncommon experiences,” she said. “I feel like if I provide those experiences, that they reward me with the type of learning that they get. They’re excited about it. I feel like it ties all of those concepts in so much more. I really feel like that out of the box teaching really helps them to become lifelong learners.”

Peacock sees herself as a “school mom” to her students. Every class she teaches becomes like a family. Unfortunately, this can make it painful for her to see them transition to the next grade.

“You know, just something about sending those babies that I have poured every bit of soul that I have into them,” she said. “Seeing them move on to the next grade is probably the hardest part of my job.”