The Cooper School Daily

Why I Teach… Kim Vennewald

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher.  When kids were asking for bikes or toys for their birthdays, I was asking for classroom supplies.  By the age of 10 I had a classroom complete with desks and bulletin boards in my basement.  Fortunately, my brother and cousins were good sports and would indulge me from time to time by being my students. As I grew up, my love for teaching continued to develop.  I signed up for any classes or programs related to teaching, and in college I followed the path to become a teacher, eventually leading to a Master’s Degree in Special Education. If you asked me growing up why I wanted to become a teacher, I don’t know that I would have been able to give a reason- it just felt like a natural fit to me. Throughout the years, I learned that I love teaching because I want to promote that same love of learning that I had when I was kid. The best feeling is to plan a lesson or activity and be super excited to teach it, and to feel that same excitement and sense of wonder from my students. I also appreciate the small victories- that AHA! moment when something that was challenging finally clicks.  

When I moved to Charleston, one of the most difficult aspects of the move was leaving the school that I called home for 10 years. It was a small school with 1 Head Teacher per grade and a population of about 105 students. I loved that I knew all of the students and their families and that the staff was supportive and collaborative. When I moved to Charleston, I initially struggled to find that sort of environment. Then I came across The Cooper School.  One of the features of TCS that really stood out to me was the incorporation of the Responsive Classroom Program. As an educator, I value teaching the whole child and creating a classroom community in which all students feel safe and accepted, which are hallmarks of The Responsive Classroom.  When I arrived at TCS as the After-School Coordinator, I could immediately see the positive effects of the Responsive Classroom program. Teachers spoke to the students in such a positive manner. The students all seemed to truly love being at school and it was clear that the school was one large community.  Now in my 2nd year as the TCS First Grade teacher, I am still so excited to be a part of this community each and every day!