In 2021, we made a big step in adding a second kindergarten and first grade class to accommodate our growing grammar school student body! We invite you to take a few minutes here to meet our new first grade teacher, Mrs. Katie Thompson.
Before becoming a mom and moving to Lancaster County several years ago, Mrs. Thompson taught general music and choir in the School District of Philadelphia and worked as a pre-kindergarten teacher in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She also worked in curricular development and teacher training for the educational outreach program of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mrs. Thompson graduated with a double major in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Temple University.
Read on to hear from Mrs. Thompson about her heart for teaching, her family, and more!
What first sparked your interest in teaching?
I have always loved being in a classroom environment - as a student and as a teacher. There is the most incredible dynamic of an individual with knowledge to share and a willing mind eager to learn. Seeing new information take seed in a student and flourish and grow is a wonderful thing. From a young age, I knew it would be a privilege to witness that growth daily. The Lord has been very kind to allow me the opportunity to be in the classroom again in this season of my life.
What are your favorite parts about teaching this age group?
First graders are delightful! They are full of energy and enthusiasm. They don't take learning for granted. They approach all subjects with a sense of awe and wonder that is infectious. First graders bring big emotions and big affection to the classroom. They are growing by leaps and bounds physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and it is a distinct joy to see every day. I love that, through their eyes, I get to marvel again at the incredible world God has created and how we each fit into it. Teaching first grade is truly a blessing!
How do you see your background in music helping you now as a first grade teacher?
Having a background in music is a tremendous help in the classical Christian first grade classroom. There is a rich history at Veritas of using song and metered jingles to help students retain relevant information. There is also an abundance of research that supports the idea that the young mind is able to absorb a tremendous amount when it is delivered via music. As first graders come to school with a lot of physical energy, music and dance (motions) are a fantastic way to channel these qualities that the Lord has naturally given 5- to 7-year-olds. We sing and move often which has direct benefits to retention, focus, memory, skill-building, relationship building and just good ole' fashioned fun!
Traveling as a soloist, having to sing in front of large crowds, was helpful preparation for the classroom setting. Similarly, traveling to settings of other cultures - throughout the USA, England, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico - helped prepare me to be sensitive to and embrace the variety of cultures represented in my classroom. Eager eyes looking to you with expectation can feel like pressure, but having confidence in how you've prepared - and been prepared - for your role can relieve you of nerves in those situations.
In Philadelphia, I worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra training professional musicians to go into schools and teach music. Hands down, I would say adults are more challenging students than first graders!
How does your faith in the Lord manifest itself in your teaching?
I have taught in public and in private school settings. The ability at Veritas to openly share my faith with the students, to pray with and for them, to share God's truth with them, and give specific intentionality to the state of their heart and their soul is a tremendous privilege. To be a part of the journey of these young minds as they continue/begin to process their sin, become aware of their need for a savior, see the beauty of the gospel and God's perfect redemptive plan through Christ, and then respond in gratitude is a highlight of each day.
There is beauty in the ability to share my own need for Christ with my class and celebrate the Lord's goodness in providing for me in so many ways. There is also equity in our need for Christ. My sin is not less than any one of my students. My need for Christ is just as great as their need for Christ. My desire for the boys and girls who have been entrusted to my classroom is that they will ultimately be not only my students but my brothers and sisters in Christ.
What do you love about classical Christian education and about teaching at Veritas?
I love that the glory of God is the starting and ending point for learning. The desire to train up loving, serving, and thinking students is inherent in every subject. There is joy and exuberance in our students because they are not only learning for themselves, they are learning with the intent of loving God and loving their neighbor. There is such value and purpose in the educational life at Veritas - in our parents, in our students, in our families. It was a delight to experience that when my own children began at Veritas five years ago and it is a delight to experience it every day in my first-grade class.
Tell us about your hobbies.
I have three kiddos with hobbies, which means there isn't a ton of time for my own hobbies in this season of life, but I wouldn't trade the season I am in for anything! When I do have free time, I enjoy date nights with my husband to eat delicious food - particularly if it's food from other countries. I love to bake in the kitchen with my daughter - particularly if she does the dishes. I love soccer with my boys - particularly if they let me win. I also love to read!
Tell us a bit about your family.
I have been married to my college sweetheart, Tim, since 2005. We met when we were 17 and enjoy saying now that we've spent more than half our lives with each other. The Lord blessed us with Gabriel (10th Grade), Lillian (7th Grade) and Malachi (Kindergarten). My students will tell you my children are familiar faces as they often sneak into class after school to grab candy from my 'Silent Sweets' bin!
God is good and faithful to answer prayers in His perfect timing. I would welcome each of your prayers for me this inaugural year of two first grades, that by the Spirit I would love the students who've been entrusted to my care well and that all that happens in 1B would be for the glory of God.
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