Students remain a source of love for preschool teacher
Seven years into teaching, Brandi Faulkner still isn’t prepared for the way her students tug on her heartstrings.
Faulkner, a Montgomery County native, said people become teachers because of their passion and love for helping children, and her students are always on her mind. They make her laugh, cry and everything in between and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Faulkner has been teaching at Clark County Preschool for three years.
Faulkner attended Eastern Kentucky University and graduated with a bachelors in interdisciplinary early childhood education.
Faulkner said she always loved working with children.
She considered becoming an occupational therapist, but after a nudge from her college advisor, she discovered her passion for early childhood education and working with children with special needs.
“I was in love with it,” Faulkner said. “I just knew it would be the perfect fit of both worlds for me.”
Faulkner said she knew she was meant to work with preschool age children and never gravitated toward teaching older children.
“I’ve always worked with younger kids, and that’s what I was comfortable with,” she said.
Faulkner’s favorite part about her job is watching her children grow.
“Just watching them develop and bloom and grow is the best part,” Faulkner said. “It’s so rewarding.”
It can be challenging when Faulkner can’t identify some needs, she said.
Faulkner said she doesn’t always know a child’s home life or what a child may need because her students may not be able to express themselves.
Faulkner said she is always wondering and worrying if her students are well-fed, well-rested and well-taken care of when she’s not with them.
Although most days, Faulkner is with her students nearly seven hours a day. It is during that time she is amazed by their accomplishments. She had one student who started the year who mostly couldn’t communicate all of their needs, but by the end of the year, the student had made so much progress they could hold a conversation.
Faulkner is also amazed at the love her students share.
“I’ve had students in the past who have just been so warm and so loving and so kind to their peers,” she said. “And even at such a young age, you can tell that they’re going to grow up to be a loving, kind adult. They’re just empathetic and kind to one another.”
Faulkner said her students also teach her how to be more patient and how to adapt.
“Every day you learn a new way to teach the same skill,” Faulkner said. “If you’re working on a certain skill set, one way may work for one out of five of your students. But those other four, they need to look at it differently.”
Faulkner said she is always striving to ensure her students are kindergarten ready and well rounded in their skill sets.
“If they know all of their alphabet, but they can’t socialize with a peer, they’re going to struggle,” Faulkner said. “So it’s always my goal to help my students to be more well rounded.”
Faulkner said she hopes her students remember always to try their best.
“As long as they are working hard and truly trying their best, that’s all anyone can ask them,” Faulkner said. “They have to put forth effort and at least make an attempt.”