Teacher Spotlight – Mrs. Hutchson

This month, we’re thrilled to share a bit more about our amazing teacher, Mrs. Hutchson. This is Mrs. Hutchson’s eighteenth year at the Phoenix Academy and her twenty-fourth year working in education. 

Mrs. Hutchson currently teaches sixth and seventh grade at Phoenix Academy. She also teaches decoding, which is an important component of the unique curriculum we use at Phoenix Academy to teach reading. We visited with Mrs. Hutchson about her long tenure at Phoenix Academy (she was hired by our founder, Patti Clark) and what’s been going on in her classroom this year. 

What inspired you to go into teaching? 

I’ve always enjoyed teaching children. I always played school when I was a kid, and it just carried on throughout my life. It brings me a lot of joy when I could help someone else read and get those successes in their life.

What do you like about teaching at Phoenix Academy? 

I really like how we teach reading here. I was a struggling reader when I was young. I was taught using the whole language approach, and I had a really tough time. I could have been left behind, too. When I was working at a school in Blair, one of the teachers was using the Spalding Method to teach reading, and I saw how it well it works. I wished I had that when I was a kid, so I wanted to find another school that taught using the method. That’s when I found Phoenix Academy! 

What’s something you’ve been working on in your classroom so far this year? 

This year we implemented a new curriculum called Wit & Wisdom. As part of this, we held Socratic seminars, where the students led the class and asked each other questions. That has been really different, asking them to be the leaders. I just had to say, “Okay, I’m stepping back. You have to ask your classmates the questions!” The first Socratic seminar they had a hard time with stopping and listening to one another, and we talked about goals for listening. They’re still working on it, but a lot of them have gotten much better. I see that growth where they’re trying to be mindful of what other people are saying. 

Tell me about some wins for this year. 

At the beginning of the year, one of my students could not write. He sat there in tears — they were pouring out of his eyes. And now he is writing full sentences, and he is glowing. He’s absolutely a different child. In general, their self-confidence has sky-rocketed this year. Every year it’s like this. They participate when they feel good about themselves. Their determination to succeed academically just goes through the roof.

Thank you, Mrs. Hutchson, for everything you do for students at the Phoenix Academy! 

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