Pam Higley of Bennington was just hired as a third-grade teacher for the Georgetown Elementary School.
Pam has worked as a para-professional, or aid, at the Georgetown Elementary for the past six years. However, she was spurred by this experience to go ahead and get her degree in K-8 Education from Western Governor’s University, which she received in April. This gave her the opportunity of being able to actually teach the children she has been working with for so long.
Pam is originally from Bennington, the daughter of Calvin and Dorothy Crane. She is second from the youngest in the family, having three brothers and three sisters. She graduated from Bear Lake High School in 1980 and then went on to obtain her Associates Degree in Education from Rick’s College. After that, she returned home to Bear Lake and began working for Peterson’s IGA.
During the time she worked for Peterson’s, Pam married Brian Higley. After seven years of marriage, they had their first child, Maya (19, who is now serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Nashville, Tennessee, Mission. They subsequently had two more children, Summit (17), who will be a senior this year, and Cassidy (14), who will be a freshman.
Pam says she has always enjoyed being with kids and interacting with them. It is something she planned on doing when she graduated from high school. She has just “fulfilled that dream finally.”
She says that this year will be an interesting year with COVID-19. There will be a lot of things in place they don’t know about, and it will be a challenging year to learn and see how they all do. Being a new teacher, it will be especially interesting because she wasn’t involved in the things they did at the end of last year. It will be hard to make any detailed plans. She is waiting for lots of information at this time, but school will be starting up as usual.
There have been some protocols put in place for the students, such as a lot of hand washing. They are not required to wear masks, but it suggested that they do. The superintendent has sent out a letter for parents to give them an idea of what they are going to put in place.
As for her own children, she plans on sending them to school. Her daughter, Cassidy, just had spinal fusion because she has Scoliosis, but Pam feels, she will be in a normal situation with the normal jostling in the halls. Pam is a little worried, but knows the school will put the right things in place for her. She isn’t worried about her son, Summit, at all. She says she knows the teacher and administrators will do their best to put in the right precautions. That’s pretty much all you can do.
Pam says this is uncharted territory, so she feels everyone is working together to see the best scenarios and find the best precautions.
As far as her teaching goes, she says she hasn’t really put any plans into place for her class yet until she sees how things go; she’s just working on lesson plans.
If they send the kids to work on school at home at any time during the year, she says they have someone who is going to help the teachers learn a little more about the technology that is available to them. This way they will be a little more prepared than they were last year because it was so sudden. The situation will be more thought out when it happens.
Also, if it happens, especially in Georgetown, the parents are really involved. There are a lot of different ways to access to keep in contact with them. They are very willing and want to know what is going on and help out in any way they can. Georgetown has parents that come in to the school and help so they are always up to date with what is happening and are on top of things. She says, “Even when school is in, I see teachers texting parents all the time keeping them up to date on what is happening.”
As for school starting up this year, Pam says, “I think it’s important for kids to go back to school to have some kind of normalcy in their lives. They were disrupted back in March, and a lot of them haven’t seen their friends and interacted with them. I hope they will be able to get at least some of that back again within the parameters we have to set. Even though they were doing some learning online, it’s not the same as having the face-to-face with their teacher and having that kind of teaching going on.”
She went on to say, “I’m excited about teaching! This is going to be a whole new adventure. Because I’ve worked with the kids as an aid, I’ve spent a little more one-on-one time with them. This is going to be a little different adventure with a whole group. It’s going to be fun!