Teacher Tuesday: MCE’s Patty Kelly, born to teach.

March 10, 2020

Teacher Tuesday: MCE’s Patty Kelly, born to teach.

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

Teacher Tuesday is a presentation of Metalworks. Metalworks is a small, family-run company with facilities located in Ludington and Manistee, manufacturing metal office filing systems. Be sure to show your support by liking the Metalworks Facebook page here.

Mason County Press is featuring area educators each week in a series called “Teacher Tuesday.” We will be choosing different educators from Mason County.

CUSTER – For 33 years, Patty Kelly has been doing what she loves, teaching. She graduated from Paw Paw High School and then earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Western Michigan University and then an endorsement in early childhood education from Grand Valley State University.

Her start in the teaching world was in a modified Montessori preschool setting, where she worked with children from 6-weeks-old through 5-years-old. She also worked a summer program with children up through age 12.

“I wanted to have a job where I could make a difference,” she said. “I enjoyed working with children.”

Kelly taught for 14 years at Discovery Center Preschool and one year at Tri County Head Start before moving to Ludington and accepting a job at Mason County Eastern Schools in 2002. She currently is in her seventh year of teaching kindergarten at MCE. She stated that there are so many things that she loves about her job, but a main one is seeing children at a very young age discover new things.

“I love to see the wonder and curiosity of young children and see how excited they get about learning new things,” she said. “I love the spark you see in the eyes of a child who really reads a word for the first time.”

Working with students can be very rewarding and yet can be difficult at times. But teaching children at the beginning of their educational career can really have its perks and innocent moments. Kelly has seen many of these moments throughout her career as an early childhood educator.

“When I started teaching at Mason County Eastern, I taught prekindergarten, preschool and kindergarten,” she said. “I really love how caring and supportive the kids can be if a classmate is sad or gets hurt. Being with them every day helps keep me young and reminds me of what is really good in our world.”

But there are some more difficult parts of being an educator these days. During her years in the classroom, Kelly said that maybe not enough educators are given a say in what goes on inside the classroom each day.

“I would make educators in charge of making policies about education issues so that teachers could consistently provide an education for their students that was based on research of best practices versus political trends,” she said. “Also, I would fully fund schools so that we could afford quality teachers, counselors, social workers, nurses, as well as the support staff needed to consistently provide the best educational experience for all our students.”

Even though there can be rough roads during one’s teaching career, Kelly believes that the pros definitely outweigh the cons and she encourages students interested in education and educating others to pursue a career in education, even if some of the aspects don’t always look so appealing.

“Go and volunteer in various classrooms at different grade levels to see what age students you feel most comfortable with and ask teachers in the field what they feel are the benefits and challenges of their grade level,” she said. “Be prepared to work many unpaid hours and spend much of the summer doing additional training in order to keep up with changes in curriculum, technology, and classroom management. You must be flexible, creative, thick skinned and very patient to last in this field. You will find other jobs that pay better but you won’t find any that let shape the future as much as being a teacher.”

With 33 years in the classroom, Kelly has seen a lot of changes, both good and bad, but she feels that she didn’t pick the career of teaching, more that it chose her.

“I feel like I was born to be a teacher and am grateful to my coworkers, students and their families for the opportunity to live my dream every day,” she said.” “I knew right away that Mason County Eastern was a special place from the first day I started teaching here and am proud to be part of the MCE family.”

This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.



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