Kindergarten teacher Sue Kibbey's experience provides a valuable resource for her co-workers at Youngsville Elementary/Middle School, particularly her former student and current principal Eric Mineweaser.
"We go to her a lot if we have questions," he said. "We always look to her for guidance."
Mineweaser said he's happy to have the opportunity to get to know her on a different level, adding that she is a unique person to have the patience to teach for 38 years.
Q: Please give us some biographical information - who you are, what you teach, where, what grade, how long have you been teaching, where are you from, where did you go to school (anything else you think is pertinent).
A: I am Sue Kibbey, kindergarten teacher at YEMS married to Oran Kibbey, sister to Tanya and Mary, daughter of the Late Walter and Thelma Kushner of Pittsfield. I have taught at YEMS for the past 38 years. My first three years of teaching were spent in second grade and the past 35 years in kindergarten, which I love. I am a Warren County graduate and graduated from Edinboro University with a Bachelor's in Elementary and Early Childhood with my Masters in Education. I presently serve on the PASA Advisory Council for the Department of Special Education at the state level. I have scored the PASA for the past nine years for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Presently, I am working on a PASA Science project through the University of Pittsburgh. I have been involved in the PASA science for the past four or five years and had the opportunity to work with a team of special education teachers across the state in developing the cut scores for the PASA Science last September and October.
Q: Why did you become a teacher?
A: My parents came from large families completing only the eighth grade for reasons of being needed on the farm,etc. Education was important in our home. I use to stay after and help my teachers clean erasers etc. I knew from 4th grade what I wanted to do. I like children and I like to learn about the world around us.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about teaching?
A: When they say they like to come to school and when they began to apply what they are learning. Everyday is rewarding and everyday you make a new discovery or insight about a way a child is learning.
Q: What frustrates you the most about teaching?
A: Teaching does not frustrate meit is not having enough hours in the day to accomplish my preps and preparing my hands-on manipulatives for my classroom presentations. (My husband thinks I live at school. I do.)
Q: What advice could you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a teacher?
A: I would refer to the song "It's Not Easy Being Green" by Kermit T. Frog. If you follow the verses through the song it talks about spending each day the color of the leaves when it may be nicer to be red, yellow, or gold. As you proceed through the verse it states that you blend in with so many other ordinary things and people tend to pass you over cause you are not standing out like flashy sparkle on the water or in the sky but green is the color of spring and green can be cool and friendly and big like an ocean or important like a mountain or tall like a tree when green is all there is to be. It could make you wonder why. But why wonder, why wonder? I am green, and it'll do fine. And I think it's what I want to be.
Q: What career would you be in if you were not a teacher?
A: I would have to say a muppet on the Children' Workshop because "Sesame Street" did so much for Early Childhood on Public TV or a school psychologist.
Q: If you could recommend one thing to parents (to help their children in school) what would it be?
A: Be involved in your child's education. Education opens the door to this big world of ours.
Q: Teachers generally have a favorite funny or heart-warming classroom experience story... what's yours?
A: I have many but some are not for publication to protect my students. One that comes to mind was a game one of my student teachers was playing called "Seven Up" where students put their heads down and my student stands outside the door and guesses who has moved. The student teacher told the student to go outside and the student was very literal and actually went outside. When the student teacher went to call the student back in the student was goneI told her to check outside and sure enough that was where the student was.
Q: Is there anything I should have asked you about but didn't?
A: Yes, I was one of many wanting the full-day kindergarten program. I am glad that it is here and I want to thank the (school) board for this program. I want them now to be motivational and looking to be futuristic and bringing a Pre-K to our district. Yes, high school and middle school are important but the foundation is in those early years.