After graduating from Illinois State University in 2005, KELLY ALIKHAN returned to her hometown of Danville for a job at Meade Park Elementary and never left.
Sixteen years later, the second-grade teacher knows how to strike a balance between silliness and seriousness to keep her students engaged.
“Mrs. Alikhan exemplifies what every student needs and deserves as an elementary teacher,” Principal Chris Rice said. “Her work ethic, positive attitude, her willingness to collaborate with others and her dedication to raising expectations has helped to motivate students to work to their full potential.
“Her character, personal initiative, sense of humor and willingness to go above and beyond in regard to helping others makes her an asset to our building. She always makes the effort to communicate with both parents and students to ensure that they are meeting building and classroom expectations.
“She consistently demonstrates patience with students when explaining content and striving to meet individual needs. Her classroom is business-like, but she has a great rapport with her students.”
Here’s more from our Teacher of the Week:
I find my work important because … teaching primary grades is the foundation of a child’s learning. My students are learning to read or read better at this age. My goal is to have them gain fluency in their reading and hopefully find a love and enjoyment for reading.
I became a teacher because … I have always loved kids and I want to help them learn in fun and engaging ways. My mom is a retired teacher and I saw how much she loved the profession.
My favorite lessons are … when I can have the students learn with motions and cheering or chanting. It is fun to get up and move around and many students learn and remember things set to a tune or motion. I also love making my students laugh so I add extra silliness whenever I can. It helps to keep their attention.
My job is fulfilling when … my students’ faces light up when they see me in the mornings. I love greeting all my students as they walk in. It is a great start to the day and creates a positive learning environment.
I’m also passionate about … my own children. I have an amazing 8-year-old son and sassy 6-year-old daughter. They give me great joy and I am very proud of them.
One of my own favorite teachers in school was … Mrs. Jeannie Filicsky from North Ridge Middle School. She was one of my eighth-grade teachers. It isn’t so much as what she taught me, but how she made me feel. I loved going to her class because she was always smiling and genuinely cared about me and all of her students. That is what I want students to remember about me as well, how I make them feel.
I engage students during this strange time by … trying to keep things as normal as possible. I have explained the rules and procedures so they understand what they must do for safety purposes.
If I weren’t a teacher … I can’t imagine being anything other than a teacher. This is my calling.