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Effingham Magazine

Amanda Sanders: Best Teacher

Amanda Sanders: Best Teacher 

What grade do you teach?

I currently teach Kindergarten at Sand Hill Elementary. I’ve learned so much from teaching our youngest students not only about academic areas but social areas as well.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for 18 1/2 years, all in Effingham County. I began my career as a Pre-K teacher at Effingham County’s Pre-K Learning Centers, but I’ve taught Kindergarten and First grade for several years.

What made you want to become a teacher?

I have always enjoyed working with children. I worked in our church nursery and with the youth group for many years. I could not imagine seeing myself doing something other than helping children.

How would you describe your teaching style?

I would describe my teaching style as coaching. Instead of giving answers to my students, I try to ask the right questions and guide their thinking toward the right answer.

I believe in self-exploration and discovery in my kindergarten classroom. We use a lot of literacy and math centers and activities to give students practice applying what they’ve learned in new situations.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I absolutely cherish witnessing a child’s “aha” moment when they realize they’ve learned something and can apply it, and the pride and joy they feel.

What is the hardest part about teaching?

Every student comes to us at a different level of knowledge. So, detailed and differentiated planning is the hardest and most important part of teaching but without it, students may get behind, lost, or bored with what you are teaching. The goal is to have an active and engaged classroom.

What do you enjoy most about working at Sand Hill Elementary?

Sand Hill has been known for many years as a small school with a big heart. The teachers, staff, and parents make this an amazing place to work. Everyone works together well, looks out for each other, and invests their time in you and your students.

What’s your favorite subject to teach and why?

I love the foundational skills of reading. Teaching students how letters make sounds, how we can put those together to make words, and how we can use what we know to read and write is my favorite part of the day. Kids get so excited when they hear a sound they know and can show it in their writing which makes them authors just like the books we read.

I was fortunate to be chosen to participate in Reading Recovery training and become a reading interventionist at Sand Hill Elementary. Learning how to strategically plan lessons to teach struggling readers has been some of the most valuable training I’ve received.

What has been your proudest moment as a teacher?

Being nominated by my peers as a Teacher of the Year candidate made me proud of my accomplishments. I work hard for my students, my staff, and my community. My school day does not end when students load the buses. I’ve led our Sunshine committee, CURE Childhood Cancer fundraising team, Literacy team, and other community efforts. I enjoy making other people happy and lifting others up.

How do you feel about being named Best Teacher?

Honestly, I’m in shock. There are so many amazing teachers working in our school district so being singled out and named as Best Teacher hasn’t sunk in yet. 

Teachers care and love with more of their heart and soul than any other profession. Your children become our children. Their struggles become our struggles. And their success is our joy. Not because we succeeded but because they succeeded by reaching their goals.