Featured Educator: Tiffany Williams in Syracuse, NY
We love meeting educators all over the country who are passionate about serving youth! Tiffany Williams, first grade teacher at Dr. King Elementary School in Syracuse, NY is one such teacher. We recently sat down with Tiffany to ask her about experience with No-Nonsense Nurturer and Real Time Teacher Coaching. Here’s what she had to say:
At first, she was skeptical about both programs!
When her school began using No-Nonsense Nurturer and Real Time Teacher Coaching last year, she resisted both programs. She was skeptical that this was just another initiative from the district that wouldn’t apply to her classroom or school. She didn’t want to feel judged and worried about stressing out her students. Then it was her turn to be Real Time Teacher Coached. She says, “it has been amazing – having a consistent language is the best possible thing that could’ve happened. When you implement something with true fidelity and they know what you’re going to say…I couldn’t believe how much the kids changed.”
How has No-Nonsense Nurturer improved your classroom?
Tiffany told us about the importance of consistency for her students: “I was reluctant to give consequences…I would tiptoe around some kids because it was easier to let them do nothing for fear that they were going to ‘freak out’. With No-Nonsense Nurturer, I haven’t had a problem with my most challenging child in eight weeks. He became the best behaved child in my class. I had to give him consequences and everyone in my room saw that the consequence was the same regardless of what it was. He actually responded so well to it.”
She also mentioned that half of her students are English-Language Learners – and they know what she’s saying! “They know what the expectation is and it does not change. Even for a culture or language barrier in schools, it’s effective. The students understand the expectation and they’re able to problem solve.”
What would you say to a teacher who isn’t sure about Real Time Teacher Coaching or No-Nonsense Nurturer, but knows something needs to change?
She encourages other teachers to have an open mind and welcome collaboration with others. “It’s something everybody should try because once they try it they will be extremely surprised. It helps with everything – the stress of your classroom, observations – all the things that are most stressful for a teacher begin to get better.”
Finally, how do you show your students love?
Tiffany takes the time to get to know her students personally. She makes herself available for whatever they need and tells them stories about herself. “I try really hard to let them know that I’m a person just like they are,” she says. She tries to be relatable to her students and let them know that their feelings and emotions are normal and that she is on their side. “Kids value that. You have to follow through and you have to be real.”
Thank you Tiffany for your dedication to serving the students of Syracuse and your commitment to improving your own practice. We’re proud to work with you and the rest of the staff at Dr. King Elementary School!