Molly Parks: Incorporating games and solidifying skills
Updated: Apr 14
Molly Parks, an educator at Children's Community Charter school, found the inspiration to teach in an unexpected place, and to this day, can’t imagine life any other way. Believing students learn best when they’re having fun, Molly ensures her classroom is jam-packed full of it.
Molly Parks has now been teaching for 14 years, but teaching wasn’t always on the cards. At college, Molly was studying an entirely different subject when she found a mentor who was a kindergarten teacher. She began volunteering in this woman’s class, and it changed her whole perspective. She fell in love with teaching.
Nearly 15 years down the line, Molly still has her sights set on becoming the best teacher she can be. The motto she lives by is: “Do your best, until you know better, then do better.” “There’s always more to learn!” she said. As such, Molly always takes up professional development opportunities when they’re on offer and recently returned from a summit. “They get you out there, socializing and networking with other educators, and you hear about their teaching strategies and success stories. It helps me stay fresh and afloat,” said Molly.
In Molly’s classroom, fun is a priority, and she tries to incorporate as many games and activities as she can - this, she says, is a “sneaky way to make them study.” If the class is studying for an upcoming test, for example, Molly uses Kahoot, a game platform that allows her to input related questions and answers and encourages students to get involved and competitive.
She also believes it’s important to check in with how students are feeling about class material and gives her students exit tickets at the end of each class where they can give feedback. Students then put their cards in one of four boxes ranging from ‘I don’t understand’ to ‘I can teach this’. Next, Molly puts the students into groups; those who understand are given the option to work solo or teach one of their peers. She says this kind of reteaching allows her students to solidify their skills and consolidate their learning.
She explained that she recently experienced one of her career highlights when out at dinner with her partner. A former student from 13 years ago recognized Molly as her 7th-grade long-term sub, and said she was the best teacher she ever had, and the reason she became a teacher, revealing the huge impact Molly has on her students.
Photos courtesy of Molly Parks