TES Teacher’s Special Approach
Turlington Elementary (TES) prekindergarten Teacher Wanda Hill has a deep passion for teaching that has translated to an exciting classroom environment. With over 30 years in education, Hill joined the Waller ISD family in 2020. Along with her experience, Hill brought new and innovative ways to teach. One way is by incorporating creative play and dance to help students retain the information they learn. Coming from a musical family, which included first cousin Lyle Lovett, Hill developed a love and understanding of music and creativity.
“There was a lot of love, music, and laughter in my family growing up,” Hill said. “I am so happy to pass the love of learning on to my class.”
To teach her students the letters of the alphabet, Hill wrote her own book titled, The Country Boy Alphabet. The book consists of individual stories on why each letter was given a certain name and sound. The book got its name because every story has a country boy, a stick figure that represents the letter. As she tells the story, Hill draws the figure on the board and students relate personally to the character. She is careful to never read directly from her book, but instead speak directly to her students. She actively encourages them to create stories and develop their interest in writing.
“The art form of storytelling is gone,” Hill said. “Students want stories told to them, and it blows their minds when you tell them a story you create on the spot. If they have a love for it now, they will still love it when they have to start writing stories in school.”
Hill also makes sure to spend time focusing on students individually. During small group instruction, Hill pulls one to two students at a time to go over material. While classroom aid, Mrs. Sosa, attends to the rest of the class, Hill works individually with students on any lessons that need more attention or helps further their interests in any subject.
“I believe having face-to-face interactions are important,” Hill said. “I have one student who is adding and subtracting in the 100s and another who wrote out their numbers up to 999. They are doing this in pre-k!”
Hill’s students are so enthusiastic to learn that they do not want to miss a single day of school. Parents have reached out to Hill because their child is crying about having to miss class.
“It’s so sweet that my kids want to be present to participate in whatever we are doing in class,” Hills said. “(when they miss) I’ve had to calm and reassure them that we will be waiting for them when they are ready to return.”
Every day before students are dismissed, Hill excites students about the next day by telling them, “I can’t wait to show you what I have for you tomorrow!”