Through Our Teachers' Eyes – Primary School Teacher Dr. Kimberly Kulka
Beyond the Gate talked with a few of our teachers to get a glimpse into their classrooms, their philosophies on education, and their feelings about teaching at Woodward. First up, we’re sharing thoughts from Primary School teacher Dr. Kimberly Kulka. In coming weeks, we’ll post our interviews with Middle School math teacher Dana Jefferson and Upper School history teacher Dr. Bill Nicholson. Happy reading - and stay tuned for more!
What made you want to teach at Woodward Academy?
Woodward Academy made me want to teach at Woodward Academy I wasn’t looking for a new job, but the opportunity to interview for Woodward presented itself. I told myself I would go and check it out but wasn’t really looking for a change. After visiting the campus and interviewing with several Woodward employees, I began to wonder if I could ever see myself anywhere else. The decision to work at Woodward was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve certainly never looked back.
What grade and/or subjects do you teach?
I teach second grade Transition and primarily focus on reading, language arts, writing, and spelling. But I like for my students to have exposure to all that Woodward has to offer, so on any given day I could be teaching a variety of subjects.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is pretty simple. I believe that everyone can be successful, and it’s my job to figure out how to help my students find success.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher? How does Woodward help and support you in facing these challenges?
One of my biggest challenges is having enough time in the day to cover everything. Education has come so far from the days of worksheets and dictionaries. Activities that focus on authentic student engagement take time. I’m always mindful of the clock so that time doesn’t slip away. The administration here at Woodward’s Primary School Is always willing to tweak schedules and make adjustments to maximize the instructional day.
What do you feel sets Woodward apart from other schools?
The level of care given to each and every student easily sets Woodward Academy apart from other schools. Everyone in the school genuinely wants each child to succeed to their maximum potential, and that is clear every day in the level of care shown with each child and each family.
What has surprised you the most about teaching at Woodward?
What surprised me most about teaching at Woodward was how much care is given to every little detail—from ensuring the environments are always welcoming and clean to making sure the food is tasty. Woodward leaves no detail untouched, and that builds pride in our school. It’s awesome to be a part of it!
What would you want readers to know about the Primary School teaching staff as a whole?
We have one of the most compassionate and friendly faculties I've ever been a part of in my career. Everyone always seems to be happy to be here and enjoying what they do
What would you want people to know about the Primary School’s curriculum?
We never rely on one program or method but have multiple tools in our toolkit, so if one method isn’t working for a student we can always try a different approach until we get the right fit. Everyone is always trying to find the most current and relevant information when making curriculum choices. Woodward has a strong commitment to selecting research-based curriculum with the ability to meet the needs of diverse learners. Our curriculum committees continually evaluate best practices so that our curriculum always stays up-to-date
What would you tell people about how the Primary School approaches the teaching/learning experience and how it benefits students?
Our nurturing approach, combined with the level of attention we give to each child so that our teaching approaches fit their needs, benefits our students immensely. Our building is full of people who genuinely want our students to love our school just as much as they love our school and its students.