1st Grade Teacher
We recently interviewed first grade teacher Grace Ries:
Q: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
A: I went to Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, and studied Elementary Education with an emphasis in ESL (English as a Second Language).
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
A: School wasn't something that came naturally for me growing up. I had to really work towards succeeding. It was my first grade teacher [while attending HCS], Dawn (Braham) Smith, who made the biggest impact in my educational life. She pushed me, despite my sometimes resistance, and believed in me. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to make the same difference in the lives of my own students someday. From the age of 7, I have never swayed from my desire to be a teacher. God has been so good to keep that passion alive, as I pursued it through being a high school teacher's assistant, several practicums in undergrad, and now my current position.
Q: When did you come to Heritage?
A: I went to Heritage as a student, kindergarten-11th grade. It has been amazing coming back to Heritage in 2015 as a 1st grade teacher, which has been my dream job since I was in 1st grade at Heritage.
Q: What previous teaching jobs (or other jobs) have you held?
A: I student taught at Nicholasville Elementary School in Nicholasville, Kentucky, and at The Country Day School in Costa Rica. Following graduation in December of 2014, I worked as an Instructional Assistant at Red Oak Elementary in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
Q: What is your favorite part about teaching?
A: One of my most favorite parts is seeing the growth of my little ones. First grade is one of the most formidable grades and ages, so to get to be a part of their little lives at this stage of their life is one of the biggest blessings.
In first grade, our big focus is on reading. Often times, they come in barely knowing short from long vowels, but at the end of the year, it's amazing to see that they are reading chapter books! There is nothing that can fill my heart with more joy than to see the "light click" with the kiddos who come in struggling, and to usher them to 2nd grade with full confidence they will continue to succeed.
Q: What is your favorite part about Heritage?
A: My favorite part about Heritage is the community is has provided me. Coming on board as one of the youngest employees, I immediately felt the warmth of my team and the whole staff. Every single person cares about you, whether you have been at Heritage for 50 years or 1 month. Jesus so clearly lives in and through these other teachers, and I consider it an honor to to teach, grow, and learn alongside of them.
Q: Any other stories you want to share?
A: I am teaching along side of my own 3rd grade teacher, which has been so fun to have it come full circle.
Another fun fact is that in 2nd grade at Heritage, we wrote biographies about our lives, and on my "Living for Jesus, Later" chapter I wrote, "I would like to be a teacher at Heritage because I can tell the kids about Jesus." I'm now living that dream, and am completely in awe of God's provision and goodness bringing me to this position!