Archive for Thursday, September 8, 2005

Enthusiasm fuels fourth-grade teacher

September 8, 2005

First-year teacher Felicia Yoakam says she is excited to teach fourth-graders because they are excited about school.

"I enjoy the enthusiasm fourth-graders have for learning," she said.

Yoakam is the only new teacher at Lansing Intermedi-ate School this year. She graduated from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth.

Her goal in teaching, Yoakam said, is to focus on student-centered learning, which means emphasizing students' needs instead of just curriculum goals. She said she tried to recognize multiple intelligences by developing teaching strategies that allow students who may learn better through listening, reading, hands-on projects or other methods to reach their potential. The goal is to help students relate to subject matter and "progress each student in their own way," she said.

Yoakam grew up in New York and Kansas. She said she transferred to USM after two and a half years at Pittsburg State University due to some prodding by her then-boyfriend, Aaron Yoakam. Felicia eventually married Aaron, the head coach of the Slammers youth wrestling club.

In the same way that Yoakam has gleaned wrestling knowledge from her husband, she said she also is absorbing what she can from her more experienced colleagues.

"I'm learning a lot from established teachers, which is fabulous," Yoakam said.

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