Chelsea Quillen: Engraining a growth mindset
Chelsea Quillen of Lake Elementary School isn’t the first one in her family to teach. With her mom also a teacher, Chelsea remembers growing up in a classroom environment, playing teacher as a child. When she worked in an after-school program, Chelsea knew that she belonged in education.
“I don’t even know what else I could do.” That’s the reply you get if you ask Chelsea Quillen about her career choice. Not for lack of ability, but it seems that Chelsea was always destined to be in a classroom. While she had some experience in recreation in the earliest parts of her journey, working hands on in the classroom was where Chelsea knew she belonged.
Chelsea’s county offers ample opportunities for professional development, and she likes to keep up on best practices. With continual development opportunities, Chelsea continues to learn and hone her craft as an educator. Teaching the same grade for the last 10 years hasn’t hurt either!
Early on in her teaching career Chelsea learned the important lesson that teaching isn’t just about passing content from teacher to students. “I need to make sure I have a relationship with these kids, that they trust me” says Chelsea about what she quickly realized. Chelsea emphasizes “whole brain learning” and tries to expose her students to as many learning methods as possible. While there haven’t been as many field trips and outings lately as she may like, under normal circumstances Chelsea exposes her students to real-world applications of the things they’re studying.
It may sound unusual to try to prepare third graders to be adults in the real world, but Chelsea considers the life lessons she imparts to her students to be key in their development. “I like the approach of ‘I’m trying to prepare them to be adults, not just learn the third-grade standards,’ and get them exposure to the world,” is how Chelsea summarizes it.
With the emphasis on creating well rounded eventual adults, Chelsea’s classroom is highly structured. “The kiddos really thrive in that structure because they know what the expectations are and what we’re doing at this time.” Chelsea says that above all, she’s been lucky to be at the same school for the last decade and appreciates the small family-like feeling of it.