The decision to change her career and become a teacher was great for Karen Gargon’s students.
Karen Gargon did not always want to be a teacher.
“I went to nursing school and it wasn’t quite as fulfilling as I wanted it to be, so I went back to college and got my education degree,” Gargon said. “I Wish I would have known, and done it sooner. I feel like I wasted a lot of time.”
In the past seven and a half years, she has made up that ‘wasted time,’ teaching at Belle Terre Elementary, and every so often her training as a nurse does come in handy for minor injuries on the playground.
Her own experiences, with a child who struggled in school, was a big part of the decision, a decision she said just “snowballed.”
“I didn’t understand how things were being handled, and he went to a private school for a while, but the academics didn’t seem challenging enough,” she said.
Gargon said she truly loves coming to work.
“It’s simple, but when my previous students come up and hug me, or call out my name, that’s it for me – it just makes my day. When I go to the busses and the kids are calling my name and wanting a hug from me, that melts my heart.”
She knows she’s made the right career choice when she sees her hard work paying off.
“I am working with a student who couldn’t read anything the beginning of the year, and now he’s getting it, he’s reading fluently in this short time.
Her first grade inclusion class includes some exceptional education students.
“You wouldn’t know it, they work so well together,” she said.
The one question she has trouble answering is which subject is her favorite to teach. She loves teaching these kids everything.
“I think reading is probably the most rewarding, just because when they come in here, they are like kindergarteners still, and by the end of the year they are reading chapter books,” she said.
Her classroom community extends beyond normal school hours.
“We meet to go bike riding as a class on the Lehigh Trail,” she said. “Whoever can come. We take a snack and have a little environmental lesson. It’s a great opportunity for us to be together, outside the classroom and with their families.”
She is just as proud of her students for winning a pizza party for good behavior.
Before the holiday break her students learned about meteorology .
“They will start learning about weather, and we are going to have a talk by Teresa Phillips, a meteorologist, in front of green screen, and we will video it.”
Gargon said she is very excited about being nominated for Teacher of the Year, but doesn’t feel, “worthy.”
“I don’t see myself as this amazing person,” she said.