SMITHVILLE — Although she pursued a business degree, Lacey Lewis, technology and innovation teacher at Smithville’s Eagle Heights Elementary School at 18801 Missouri Highway F, said she always wanted to be a teacher.
“I had an 8 a.m. class,” she said remembering her freshman year of college. “I saw a busload of kids and knew right then I had to change my major back to education because I wanted to be the person that greeted them.”
Though she doesn’t greet students as they get off the bus, she spends her mornings greeting ones arriving by car.
”That’s the sappy story,” she said. “It kind of came true.”
What would surprise people most to learn about your job?
“Being that I teach (kindergarten) through sixth, the pace of my day is wild,” Lewis said. “I also think, because people have told me when they walk in, that the nature of the content. ... We are working with robots, we’re working with gears, we’re working with circuits. I think that would surprise people to know that we are doing that in here.”
Would 10-year-old you be surprised that you are in this position or field?
“Well, 10-year-old me wanted to be a math teacher and we do use math in here,” Lewis said, mulling it over. “I do think 10-year-old me would be surprised. I don’t think I had the confidence to be in such an atypical classroom setting.”
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
“I think going from a sixth-grade class to a kindergarten class and having to change the manner in which I speak to them. ... Your patience is more with a kindergartener than it is with a sixth-grader,” she answered. ”And finding the real world application.”
What do you like best about this field or your job in particular?
“Building relationships with students,” she said. “Reaching kiddos that maybe don’t excel in the regular classroom due to them enjoying the topics that are taught in here.”
Outside of the workplace, when you meet somebody new, what tips you off that someone is another teacher?
“Most likely their caring nature, if they are willing to jump in and help anyone or if they are willing to direct people into doing things,” she said.
What’s the most common question you get about what you do?
“Do you really do that in here?,” she said, remembering a time her students needed a drill. “’Did you really play with robots?’ Yes, of course we do.”
What advice would you give someone starting a job similar to yours?
“Give yourself grace,” Lewis said. “Last year was my first year in this position and I was really bad at giving myself grace. Being that we are trying to teach 21st-century skills, those are everchanging. There was no way I could possibly keep up from day to day. Just let yourself be OK with that.”