In the classroom … with Cinda Dewey

Teacher aims to spark a passion for learning

PHOTO PROVIDED Second grade teacher Cinda “Cindy” Dewey, of Canton Elementary School, has a passion to teach her students to love learning and spread positivity. Dewey is active both inside and outside the classroom by keeping students engaged in learning, connecting with parents and helping her fellow colleagues.

CANTON — Every morning, second grade teacher Cinda “Cindy” Dewey, from Canton Elementary School, greets her students as they enter her classroom, she said. Dewey is involved in and outside the classroom and aims to spread positivity with her students, their parents and her colleagues.

“I enjoy working with children, and I w­­ant to make a positive difference in the lives of the students who I teach,” Dewey said. “Each year is a new beginning. I strive to motivate, encourage and inspire my students to become lifelong learners.”

Inside the classroom, Dewey looks for ways to help her students be engaged and enjoy a meaningful lesson or activity, she said.

Students should be engaged during lessons or activities so they can learn, which can help develop a passion for education, Dewey said.

Incorporating demonstrations, collaboration and a hands-on experience allows Dewey to be an effective teacher, she said.

Dewey uses the “gradual release method” for demonstrations, so students can “learn new skills and concepts,” she said. By teaching different skills or concepts, Dewey can guide students through the p­ractice first before they work independently.

Hands-on learning allows students the chance to use “manipulatives, conduct experiments and teach other students,” Dewey said.

By pairing students together or in small groups, they can work and learn together on projects to work on communication skills, interactive learning and problem-solving, Dewey said.

By greeting her students every morning, it lets the kids know that their teacher has noticed them, she said. In return, the students also can build a relationship with their teacher to promote safety.

Also, Dewey’s classroom is centered around her students’ needs when planning activities and lessons, she said. When lesson-planning, Dewey makes sure to include opportunities for students to engage with their work.

“Teachers should provide their students with fun activities that connect with the content so that they learn and retain the material,” she said.

Students also take a brain break during lessons to rest and re-energize for the next activity, she said. The layout of the classroom also is designed to help keep students engaged and open to learning. To her, her students take priority because they are individuals.

Dewey also uses open communication with her student’s parents, whether that be through email, phone calls, parent-teacher conferences or letters, she said. Dewey tries to connect with the parents a couple times in the year to share positive comments about their children.

“Outside of the classroom, as a Student Learning Leader, I promote professional learning opportunities that support my students and colleagues,” Dewey said.

As a Student Learning Leader, she can help colleagues, the administrative team and the grade-level team to develop and implement “instructional practices in my district,” she said. Through this role, she has planned “professional learning opportunities.”

She also attended and worked as a coach and mentor for the Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC), she said. Through this, she has learned how to collaborate with teachers to help improve teaching to increase student success.

As a mentor, she guides, motivates and provides emotional support for newly hired teachers in the beginning of their careers, she said.

“I put in time outside of the classroom so that I can teach my students effectively,” she said. “I spend hours for curriculum planning, classroom preparation, evaluating students’ work, contacting parents and continuing education.”

Dewey has been teaching second grade at Canton Elementary School for 23 years, she said. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mansfield University and a masters fro Wilkes University.

“I believe that teaching is a calling and so much more that just a ‘job.’ It is rewarding in so many ways. It makes me smile, laugh and even cry. It is both exhilarating and exhausting, yet I cannot imagine it not being part of my life,” Dewey said.