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Davis Journal

The first day of school isn’t just for kids

Aug 12, 2021 10:41AM ● By Becky Ginos

Caray Long (left) OCR Compliance Officer for the Davis School District gives information about Future Leaders of Color to Kayla Van Wagoner, a new speech/language technician. Photo by Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—School starts on Aug. 23 and while students are preparing to return to school, so are teachers. Some have been in the classroom for years but others are new to the district. Elementary and secondary teachers gathered Tuesday and Wednesday for a New Educator Orientation to introduce them to the Davis School District.

“This is my first year as a teacher,” said Deborah Bell who will be a fifth grade teacher at Oakhills Elementary. “I’ve worked in various positions in the district with reading and language arts. My kids go to school in the Davis District and we live in the area.”

Bell said she’s most excited to meet her students and build a rapport with them. “I’m most nervous about staying on top of things like paperwork, meetings and more organizational things.”

Fifth graders can sometimes be a challenge but Bell has a plan. “I intend on opening lessons up to lots of group work with hands-on material,” she said. “I want to put the responsibility back on them so that they’re invested in what we’re learning. I’ll also take advantage of videos available on Canvas. I think they’re pretty great.”

With all the changes brought on by the pandemic, Bell knows some of the kids will need special help. “I do plan to spend the first few weeks just gauging where everybody’s at,” she said. “I want to have center teaching moments to work one-on-one as they need it. Fortunately we’ll have math and reading tutors so I can divide them into groups and work one at a time with students that need specific help in specific areas.”

Bell isn’t concerned about teaching with mask mandates lifted. “I think it’s important to keep hygiene standards and hand sanitizers well stocked and in lots of places.”

Brinli Aycock will work as a Speech, Language Pathologist at Valley View Elementary and South Davis Junior High. “I moved from out of state,” she said. “When I interviewed, I could tell you get a lot of support in this district. Davis is one of the great districts in Utah. I look forward to working in the district.”

Teaching is completely new to James Tomsik who will be at Foxboro Elementary. “Originally I was a copywriter for marketing,” he said. “In college I’d substituted and one day I realized writing wasn’t for me. I wanted to be in the classroom.”

Tomsik was a teacher’s assistant at Farmington Junior High when Principal Ben Hill took him under his wing. “He mentored me and inspired me to do what I need to do,” Tomsik said. “I drew a lot of inspiration from him and other teachers as well. I went to schools in the district and I want to make the same impact as they made on me.”

Tomsik is both excited and nervous. “I’m most excited about making up my classroom,” he said. “But I’m nervous about the first week, especially since my background isn’t in teaching. I’m getting a little nervous all over the place.”