Kyle Goings: Building community and connecting with students
Updated: Apr 14
Kyle Goings of Lake Elementary creates a classroom community where he and the students are a team. Working together, they strategize to solve math problems and uplift each other.
Kyle Goings loves teaching fourth-grade. In fact, he couldn’t see himself teaching at another level despite starting his career wanting to teach high school students. “I’m not sure what motivated me to switch to elementary, but when I did, it just clicked,” he said. After volunteering in a fourth-grade classroom, Kyle said this solidified his feelings. “The students were just so excited to learn,” he said. Kyle’s own enthusiasm matches this excitement, and he said that when he is together with the students, the classroom is a team.
“My goal is to find what students know, what level they’re at, whether that’s low or high, and make them feel comfortable and confident in that,” Kyle said. Meeting the students at their level, and celebrating every win, however small, is really important to him. Kyle said he also finds getting the students up, active, and writing on the whiteboard is an effective tool for engagement. Through this activity, he said, students are given the opportunity to teach their peers. “When a teacher explains something, it doesn’t always reach everyone, but when students explain it in their own words, it allows them to connect with their peers on another level.”
Kyle explained that in a world that’s constantly shifting and changing, the way that students learn changes, too. As such, teachers must also evolve and adapt to meet their students’ needs. He praised his principal for their commitment to professional development and how that makes the school’s teachers better educators. “We do professional development at least twice a year to make sure that we’re keeping up with the trends, and following the research. We also do book studies as a group. This way, we don’t get complacent, and we ensure students are continually excited about learning,” he said.
Explaining the dynamic of his classroom, Kyle said because Lake Elementary is a small school, there’s a great sense of community, and something he prides himself on is that when students come to his class, they are joining a family. “I think you see that in the fun we have. We enjoy learning, we work hard, and you feel the pride of being a fourth-grader,” he reflected.
Speaking about the current exodus from the teaching profession, Kyle admitted that the last few years have been challenging but also said that he loves being an educator and wouldn’t change it for the world.
Photos courtesy of Kyle Goings