By April Clark Honaker
Teacher Kristy Lord Baker has a wealth of classroom experience and recently finished her master’s plus 30 with a specialty in educational technology leadership. She’s proud of these accomplishments but did not come to teaching by the traditional route.
Baker earned her Bachelor of Science in animal science from Louisiana Tech, got married right after, and was working for Willamette Industries when her course changed.
“Deep down I had always wanted to teach,” Baker said. While working at Willamette, she was trying to get certified and was on the verge of giving up when an opportunity presented itself for her to teach while pursuing alternative certification.
Having a degree allowed her to go into the classroom without teaching experience, but Baker said she was fortunate to have a first job that allowed her to teach in a room with other teachers, which helped build her confidence.
Baker started her teaching career as a first-grade classroom reduction teacher in Claiborne Parish. The role, according to Baker, was similar to an inclusion teacher today.
Baker went on to become certified in elementary education and later in special education.
When her oldest son was starting kindergarten, she took a job at Choudrant Elementary teaching special education inclusion, which she did for about 10 years before switching to sixth grade math.
“It took me a long time to get here, but I did,” she said. “It’s my love.”
When Baker started teaching first grade, she never imagined herself teaching above third grade.
“I loved the little ones,” she said.
Making the switch from first grade to fifth and sixth grade inclusion was a big change. Baker was told she would either love or hate teaching the big kids. “It turned out that I loved it,” she said. “I think it’s because they’re independent and they’re more mature, but they’re still kids.”
Baker continues to teach sixth grade math and said it’s where she wants to be. Her favorite thing about teaching is watching the kids figure out that math is not as hard as they think it is.
In sixth grade, the students are essentially closing a chapter and beginning another with brand new concepts. For math, that means ratios, unit rates, and even a little algebra.
“It’s confusing for them,” Baker said, but she always assures her students that if they stick with her, they’ll get through it.
Baker said she loves seeing their confidence build throughout the year and finds joy in their lightbulb moments.
“When you see them at the end of the year and the growth they’ve made, it’s all worth it,” she said.
To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE