Submitted by Denair Elementary Charter Academy
Name: Diana Hulbert
Family: Husband, Clark; and three children, Trent, Danica and Vanessa
School: Denair Elementary Charter Academy (DECA)
Subject taught: Transitional kindergarten
Experience and education: Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, 12 years of teaching experience.
What most inspires you about teaching? I am privileged to teach the youngest kindergartners. TK serves students turning 5 years of age between September 2 and December 2. I’m inspired by watching my students interact with one another and by the pure joy they find in learning. By being one of the first teachers the students meet, I hope to set a positive tone that sets students up for success throughout their education.
What are your biggest challenges as a teacher? Sometimes students have difficult and unstable home lives. In these cases, learning takes a back seat because basic needs are not being met at home. It’s truly heartbreaking. Students who are frequently absent have difficult time keeping up with the class. There are not enough hours in the day for me to re-teach what was missed.
What is your favorite teaching tool or activity? I love using music and movement to teach! We sing throughout the day, and I give my students ample opportunities to move.
How has Common Core affected your classroom strategy? Students are encouraged to talk to each other to solve problems. It’s interesting to hear a five-year old explain how he or she got to a certain answer.
What do you want your students to remember? I’m sure some young students easily forget their earliest school experiences. I hope my students will remember feeling safe and loved in our classroom. I hope they will remember the joy they brought to me and the fun we had together!
How can parents support what you do? The partnership between parents and teacher is extremely important. Parents should feel comfortable contacting me for anything! I appreciate it when parents share information that can help me better serve their child. Read with your child. Feed your child a healthy breakfast before school or have your child eat the free breakfast at school.
What will it take to improve academic success in DUSD schools? All districts should constantly be striving to improve academic success. There are many factors that contribute to academic success; strong leadership, parent involvement, high quality teachers, curriculum that encourages students to be actively engaged in their learning, just to list a few. What makes DUSD special is how we value each individual student and family. The relationships between our students and our faculty are often deeper than in larger districts because our students remain nearby in proximity and our smaller number of students makes it very possible to keep tabs on students during their entire K-12 education. I am seeing this first hand as a parent. My son has remained in the district since starting kindergarten. He is now a sophomore at Denair High. Learning falls into place when students know they are valued and accepted.
What’s next in your classroom? I’d like to see my students put on a play.
What would surprise people about your job? I laugh every day. Five-year-olds are funny and they keep me from taking myself too seriously.
What do you do for fun? I love spending time with my family and my big bull mastiff dog. I’m a bargain shopper who loves to eat out. I try to keep myself moving by running with friends and taking a bootcamp class.