In honor of Black History Month and as part of our ongoing Teacher Spotlight series, we recently asked the CLASS Community to nominate outstanding Black educators who are making a difference in their schools. With over 200 nominations, it was certainly difficult to pick just one winner, but Talise Owens-Hundley stood out. Talise has been teaching for 15 years and is currently a lead teacher at Next Door in Milwaukee, WI. The program focuses on getting children ready for school with academic and social-emotional learning as well as a range of health services– at no cost to their families.
Talise was nominated by her coach of three years and now colleague, Jill Udell. Jill wrote, “Talise is the most reflective practitioner I have ever worked with. Her willingness to look at her practice with rigor and fearlessness is motivated by a sincere desire to improve her practice and positively impact her students. I have witnessed her students thrive under her instruction and care. Talise has demonstrated a deep commitment to supporting her at-risk students’ social, emotional, and cognitive development. She always goes the extra mile in her lesson planning and crafting her pedagogy to support her students’ abilities as critical thinkers.”
I reached out to Talise to learn more about her reflective practice and what strategies she’d recommend for other ECE teachers. Here are just a few practices she recommends:
On being a reflective teacher
Even after 15 years of teaching, Talise believes it’s important to reflect on her teaching practice and continue to grow and improve. Knowing how important early childhood educational experiences are for her children, she wants to make sure she’s doing everything possible to meet their needs. “In the field that we're working in early childhood education, I just think it’s really important that we continue to educate ourselve. Things are changing so rapidly, there's always room for growth.” Talise know’s it’s not just a matter of teaching skills, but, “we're here to make sure the children know that they're loved, that they are somebody, they’re valued. We are here for them and we’re here for their families, as well to help build resilience.”
Thank you Talise, Jill, and all of the other educators who were nominated, for your dedication to improving children’s outcomes.
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We all want what’s best for our children. There are hundreds of aspects to measure: nutrition, exercise, curriculum, community involvement...the list could go on.
There’s one aspect that you may not know is measurable—that’s the interactions between teachers and students. This is where the CLASS tool comes in.
On November 9, 2021, Teachstone hosted the Building Confidence and Consistency in Your Head Start Program webinar with Sara Diamond, Director of Partnership Development at Teachstone, and Michelle Crawford, CLASS® Specialist.
Together, Sara and Michelle provided tips for helping educators dig deeper in their interactions and feel more confident in their teaching practice. Before diving into the tips for building confidence and consistency, Michelle shared a powerful quote from Lori Archer, a Head Start teacher: