Why I Teach: ‘Fifth grade was a favorite year for me’

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Brooke Sparks, fifth-grade teacher at Wilson Preparatory Academy, is featured in this week’s Why I Teach.

“I teach for many reasons, but this year there are 49 reasons why! Looking back, my favorite and most influential teachers were those in my elementary years. Fifth grade was a favorite year for me because my teacher always made learning concrete and relatable. I use this positive experience to help bring the content I’m teaching to life.”

Current position: I currently teach fifth grade science and math but have also taught third and fourth grades. Fifth grade is by far my favorite! Not only are the students becoming more independent in their thinking and learning, but they truly show an interest in the world around them.

Years of experience: I have completed five years teaching in the classroom.

What inspired you to teach?: Unfortunately, many people have misconceptions on the “day in the life of a teacher.” I was inspired by my own experiences as a student, but helping children every day reach their goals is what sustains my desire to teach. I’m one of the few “lucky ones” who works in an environment that has wonderful leadership and allows teachers to take ownership of their instruction and truly teach our students.

First teaching job: My first teaching position was in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district teaching third grade.

Favorite quote: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Albert Einstein

Colleges attended: I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Campbell University, a bachelor’s degree in fashion design from Meredith College and a master’s degree in arts and teaching from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. My next educational goal is to begin working on my portfolio to become nationally board certified.

Interesting facts: As with many teachers, I was raised by a family of educators. Previously, my father was a college professor and dean and really instilled in me to be a life-long learner. I am a member of Kappa Delta Pi and was Wilson Preparatory Academy’s Teacher of the Year 2017-2018. I moved to Wilson from Charlotte three years ago, and this is my third year teaching fifth grade math and science at Wilson Preparatory Academy. My husband and I have a 3-year-old son, Finn, and a 3-month-old daughter, Isla. Outside of teaching, I enjoy traveling, visiting the beach, creating art, and spending time with my family. I am a huge Duke fan.