Squirrels and Crickets Build Flexibility

Magazine Issue
Spring 2021


Sheri Hinckley Has Learned to Follow Student Interests to Spur Engagement

Headshot of Sheri Hinckley
Photo courtesy of Sheri Hinckley

Sheri Hinckley’s, ’87, elementary education degree at the McKay School taught her to be flexible in lesson plans, a skill she still uses. Her students have taken an interest in the squirrels that play in the oak trees on the playground and the crickets that often make their way into the building, “When our students really take an interest in something, we try to delve into that subject a bit. Maybe we learn how crickets chirp instead of completing an activity listed in my lesson plans, and that’s just great.”

After graduation, she taught first grade in Pleasant Grove, Utah, for five years. Once her husband finished his degree at BYU, the Hinckleys moved to Columbus, Indiana, where she took a break to stay at home with her children. Her prior experience teaching first grade helped her as she raised her own children. “Just like teachers need to get to know their students and identify how best to teach each one, I have found the same to be true with my own children. What works best with one doesn’t usually work best with the others.”

Hinckley is now in her eighteenth year teaching preschool. She teaches a Pre-K class four mornings a week and a super-science class one morning a week at First Presbyterian Preschool.

Flexibility helps now with some children learning from home. Class sizes are smaller, allowing the children to socially distance where and when they can. In addition to hand-washing breaks, Hinckley sanitizes the toys. She says, “The kids are amazing! They understand that things are different right now, but they are doing such a great job adjusting to this new normal and different way of learning. They pitch in and are happy and willing to help keep our room clean and each other healthy.” Being flexible in lesson plans and in life helped her become the teacher and mother she is today.

 

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