In the classroom: Ashtyn Mead returns to Cheyenne Traditional

Ashtyn Mead in her 2nd grade school photo at Cheyenne Traditional School. (submitted photo)

Name: Ashtyn Mead

Age (optional): As I always tell my students, “I am old enough to be a teacher!”

School: Cheyenne Traditional School

Why you chose to work in the district: I chose to work in the district because I am a product of it. I attended elementary through high school in SUSD and wanted to continue the work of so many of the remarkable teachers I was fortunate enough to learn from.

What I like most about what I do: My students are my absolute favorite part of the job. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity every year to get to know and understand each of my students at Cheyenne. They surprise me each day with what they are capable of; whether that be knowledge based or character based. They are always giving me something new to appreciate.

Where did you come from: I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. After high school, I attended the University of Arizona in Tucson and graduated in 2016.

Ashtyn Mead (submitted photo)

If I had picked a different occupation, it might have been: I might have been a nurse. I admire anyone in that field for their compassion, extensive knowledge, and resilience. I have a passion for people and helping them, but I can’t help but squirm around needles and blood.

What I’m looking forward to the most this school year: I am most looking forward to watching and being a part of my student’s growth. Most of the students in my two seventh grade classes are students I had last year for sixth grade. I love being able to see how they mature and apply concepts taught from previous years in a stronger way.

My vision for the school: This school has already given me so much, I am just happy to be able to continue the work and vision of my previous teachers. Our school’s vision is to challenge students through our curriculum and maintain high expectations for them through our traditional approach. I hope that we can continue to grow, learn, and be supported through this vision as a school and a community.

Favorite community cause & why: Kids Need To Read is an incredible foundation that works to create a positive culture of reading for kids by providing books to underfunded libraries, schools, and literacy programs.

My interests and hobbies: I love anything involving arts & crafts and/or family. I love to spend my free time working on different projects with my parents.

The best and/or worst time in my life: I think the best time in my life was getting engaged during the school year last year. Not only was that a happy event in and of itself, it also became quite an event for my second hour class. One of my students in my second hour had overheard me telling another teacher during passing period that I would be celebrating my 7-year anniversary with my then boyfriend over the weekend. The student then turned that information into her very own prediction and announced to everyone at the start of class that she thought “Miss Mead would for sure be getting engaged over the weekend!” As silly as I thought they all were, they ended up being right and were of course very excited that they had “called it” come Monday.

The trait(s) I admire in others: I admire people’s optimism, integrity, and empathy. I think optimism is the most important trait. Optimism can bring about solutions, change, confidence, and most importantly happiness.

People who inspired me (and how): I attended the same school (Cheyenne) that I now teach at. My passion for Cheyenne and education is all thanks to the teachers that I had growing up. Some of the most amazing teachers I had (from K-College) were my middle school teachers. Mr. Eppley, Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. DiTallo, Mr. Krusniak, Mrs. Treadaway, Mrs. Bass, Mr. Sampson and Mrs. Morgan are teachers who are truly passionate about what they do. They have turned from teachers to now colleagues and I love knowing that when the bell rings I am sending my students over to some of the best.

My guiding philosophy: “A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and are still receiving…” – Albert Einstein

My advice to today’s youth: I have two pieces of advice for today’s youth:

•The first piece is to practice tolerance, especially in today’s world. I think it is so important to listen and understand the ideas and beliefs of others, especially if you do not agree with them. As a small scale example, I often hear my students complaining about various rules and other issues throughout the day without fully understanding the reasons behind what they may be complaining about.

I try to show them the importance of approaching those issues and complaints in a mature way without automatically placing blame on a particular person or place. I believe when you take the time to fully understand an issue (both sides of it) it becomes possible to come up with a strong solution to that issue; involving input from both sides.

•The second piece of advice comes from my former teacher and now colleague, Holly DiTallo. I will never forget the day she told us in her Texas accent that we could be the best thing today and the last thing tomorrow. She explained to us the significance of having a strong work ethic. She said we might be the biggest fish in our small Cheyenne pond but to not let that get to our heads.

She used the example of high school baseball and explained that just because you may be the best shortstop that particular high school team had seen that year doesn’t mean you can be arrogant and choose to sit back and relax. She said, “The second you do, there will be a kid who has been working harder and putting in more effort who will take your place.”

One thing I want students to know about me: I want my students to know that I am one of their biggest fans — even if it may not always seem like it. Assigning reading, giving tests, reminding you to tuck in your shirt, and making you write your vocabulary words down are all things that have a purpose, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

Something as minor and annoying as tucking in your shirt for school translates to learning how to best present yourself. This may come in handy when you are preparing for your first job interview. Every minor rule and assignment starts with my underlying hope that it will snowball into something bigger and better.

One thing I want parents to know about me: I would love to just say thank you to all of the wonderful, supportive, and involved parents that I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with. I believe that both the teacher and parent play a huge part in a child’s education. When the parent and teacher are on the same team, the easier it is for the child to have a positive and successful education.

Something I want parents to know about teachers in general is that I have not met a teacher yet who has said they wanted to become a teacher because they want an easy job, they hate kids, or they want to make a ton of money. Teachers choose to become teachers because they are passionate about educating your children. The more you appreciate and support us the harder we are able to work to give your child the best education possible.

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