Claire Norman

Claire Norman

Senior Kindergarten

What inspired you to become a teacher?

My biggest inspiration for becoming a teacher was my mom. She was an occupational therapist for some of the schools in the area. I remember sitting in on some of her sessions after school, watching the students use all kinds of cool swings, scooters, and sensory stuff, and thinking to myself, I want to do that with kids someday.

Who inspires you the most?

My family is definitely my biggest inspiration and my drive. My husband works so hard and gives 100% in everything that he does. He makes me want to be a better person. My daughter has shown me how to look at all things in life from a different perspective and how to find beauty in the unexpected. But then there are the students at WCDS. No matter if I have taught them all or not, I am so grateful to be able to witness their learning in a space where they feel loved, safe, and acknowledged.

What adjectives would you use to describe your presence in the classroom?

Energetic, loving, honest, caring, compassionate, engaged

How has becoming a teacher changed for you over the years?

I have definitely come to trust myself more as a teacher and to really go off of the vibe of the class. Really observing and listening to my students has opened my eyes to new ways of exploring materials, learning about new topics/ideas, and just being present as much as possible during our time together.

If you weren’t teaching, what career would you have chosen?

If I wasn’t a teacher, I would be back in NYC working as a professional dancer. I was fortunate enough to have had a career and miss it at times.

Growing up, who was your most inspirational teacher and why?

My most inspirational teacher growing up was Mr. Hon at Linsly. He taught various math classes, but definitely got me through AB and BC Calculus. He just had this way of explaining things that at the initial introduction made absolutely no sense. He was also the one teacher that always had an open door if you ever needed help, no questions asked.

What impact or legacy do you hope to leave to your students?

I hope my students leave our time together knowing how much I love them and how proud I am of how they grew as learners. And that I will always be there if they ever need me.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement as a teacher so far?

So far I think my greatest achievement has been really establishing Reggio-inspired practices in the classroom. It is not easy to plan things “last minute” or to be vulnerable in your curriculum. However, it has helped us provide students with new outlets for learning and new ways of growing. There is nothing like our program in the area and I am so fortunate to be a part of it.

What are some of the most important life skills you hope to instill in your students?

I want them to know that mistakes are okay, better than okay. They help us figure out new ways of looking at or doing things, often times, better than what we thought of at first. I also want them to go through life being confident in who they are, no matter what they look like, believe in, you name it. It takes way more energy to constantly worry about what other people are thinking of you versus just being you. Lastly, I want my students to embrace life for what it has to offer. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. It is all there to help us find different paths which lead to more paths. We can’t be afraid to take on the unknown or the unexpected. Sometimes those are when the most unique and wonderful things happen to us.