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The Teacher Who Takes the Cake

Inspired to become a teacher her whole life, Michelle Brainerd is a multi-tasker whose students take notice.

Teacher: Michelle Brainerd
From: Poughkeepsie, New York
School: TLC International School
Subjects: Fifth-grade math, science, and reading

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Growing up, both my parents were teachers. I was inspired by their love for others, thirst for knowledge and desire to see their students succeed. It is these principles that I carry into my classroom every day.

What is the most special Teachers’ Day gift? Why is it so special?

Last year, a few of my students enrolled themselves into a baking class just so they could bake me a cake. It was chocolate, my favorite, and even had an edible 3D soccer goal on top! When I walked into the cafeteria, the students distracted me so they could surprise me. They presented it with a poster, and I felt so loved. It is safe to say that one takes the cake.

If you had to describe a teacher’s job as an animal, what animal do you think it would be?

If I had to pick, a teacher’s job most similarly resembles the giant Pacific octopus with its three hearts, nine brains, and eight arms. Teaching is all about loving, learning, and multi-tasking.

Are you doing any online teaching now because of the COVID-19 pandemic? How do you like it? What’s the biggest challenge of teaching online?

I have been teaching online for two months now. I am amazed by the technology that connects my class across continents. I have also enjoyed watching my students grow in their creativity. However, not being on campus together has been the greatest challenge. I miss doing experiments in science, playing four-square at recess and getting hugs from my students every day.