Teacher of the Week: Abby Donovan

Teacher of the Week: Abby Donovan

On Wednesdays, we'll spotlight a difference-making area educator.

This week, meet Abby Donovan, a first-grade teacher at Kenwood Elementary School who says building relationships with each of her students is one of the most important things she does. She loves the challenge of "figuring out how each child learns academically and socially" each year.

"I think my students like that I am young and we can laugh, learn and grow together," she said.

Her school is pretty top-notch, too.

"I have taught at Kenwood now for six years and I can't imagine teaching anywhere else," she said. "It's cheesy, but Kenwood is like a big family. The staff is so supportive of one another and willing step up to meet the needs of the kids or the adults. By staff, I mean every single person that works or volunteers in the building,"

What's your favorite tactic for getting students to pay attention? Praising and stating exactly what a student is doing that is good or respectful. The others immediately try to follow the trend. Also, Skittles will do the trick. It's amazing what can be accomplished with one Skittle.

Three items you have on your desk? My water bottle (until I misplace it), binders and items that have been confiscated throughout the day.

Teaching supply you can't live without? My Smart Board. So much of my day is built around it.

Funniest question a student has ever asked? Every day there is something they do, say or ask that is hilarious. I need to keep a journal of the funny things they do because I forget.

One of my favorite teachers growing up was ... Mrs. Leonard, my language-arts teacher in junior high.

Favorite hobby? Working out at the gym, even though I complain about being there and the workout.

Subject/topic you enjoy teaching the most? I love teaching guided reading groups. It's so exciting when the light bulb turns on and they realize they can read!

What's the best part of your job? What's the most difficult part? There are two things I really love about my job. The first is to see all the progress they've made throughout the year academically and the independence they have developed. The second is the honesty and lack of filter 6-year-olds have. The most challenging part of my job is that when the bell rings, my job is not over. I always feel like there are so many things on my to-do list to get ready for the next day or week.

Social media you use most often? Instagram.

What's your classroom pet peeve? Every bit of information must be reported to the teacher, in their minds (unsharpened pencils, anything found on the floor, tattles, etc.).

If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go? I'd travel throughout Europe.

Latest you've stayed at school working? 11 p.m.

What does your morning routine look like? Wake up at 5:50 a.m., eat breakfast, feed the dogs and let them out and on the road by 6:25.

Where did you go to college and why did you decide to get into education? I went to Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. I decided to get my degree in education because I love children and their curiosity and honesty in ALL situations!

What's the best day of the week? Wednesdays. We have coding centers, library and I have an extra prep period.

My favorite song is ... anything country.

If I weren't a teacher, I would ... want to work with an animal rescue.

I'm always texting ... my husband or family.

If I could get free tickets to a concert, it would be to see ... Taylor Swift.

My favorite local restaurant is ... Dos Reales.

One item on my bucket list is ... travel to Turks and Caicos.

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