EMPIRE — When Empire Elementary started the school year, it gained something is hasn’t had — A National Board certified teacher.
Angela Rouse joined the teaching team in Empire with National Board certification in early childhood development.
Rouse spent nine years in Waurika teaching third grade. It wasn’t until she went through National Board certification and made the move to Empire Elementary School that she began to teach kindergarten.
Making the transition from third grade to kindergarten has made for quite a change, she said.
“It’s been a learning process,” Rouse said.
Teaching students hasn’t changed, but the approach from grade to grade changes because of the amount of experience the students have. She has found it takes adding more details and a bit more patience to teach kindergarten opposed to third grade.
“They’re just getting started,” Rouse said. “They have to learn the very basics.”
Being board certified has helped the process because it has given her new direction in teaching. She said she can incorporate multiple subjects into reading.
For instance, when students start reading about farms, they will go visit a farm as a science lesson, plus they will use their math to count.
“I use it every day,” Rouse said. “It’s about applying our standards, teaching to all learners.
“I have to meet the needs of all kids.”
She said she wants all students to be successful. When a student understand the subject matter, Rouse likes to have the child teach another approach to children who may be struggling.
Elementary Principal Josh Skiles said he’s glad to have the opportunity to add a teacher, like Rouse, because of what she brings to the school. Skiles said she is a welcomed addition to the teaching staff at Empire Elementary.
Rouse said she has noticed a big change in her teaching since becoming a National Board certified teacher. She said she is more thorough than she has been and is able to find new ways to teach the same material.
“I changed the way I taught,” she said. “When you’re in college, you have professors who teach the old ways of doing things. That’s how I was teaching.”
Rouse said National Board certification helps teachers improve, although subject matter changes among grades.
“You have a whole set of goals to meet,” Rouse said. “The objectives are different for each grade level.”
This is her first year at Empire, but she said she enjoys the school district. It’s closer to her home.
But she still has a warm place for Waurika Public Schools.
“Waurika was a wonderful school,” Rouse said. “I hated leaving it.”