Meet Vickki Hill, 3rd Grade Teacher at Exceed Charter School
Tell me a little about yourself:
I’ve been a teacher for five years and this is my third year with Explore Schools. I’m a native Brooklynite and a huge fan of the Brooklyn Nets.
Why did you become a teacher?
I worked in the social work field for seven years, and most of my day-to-day interactions consisted of talking one-on-one with clients who had a variety of barriers that prevented them from succeeding in life. One of the main barriers they spoke about was a lack of education, and after hearing many of the same stories over the years, I realized that I wanted to impact others through education.
Where did you attend college?
I received a Bachelor’s Degree in social work from Hunter College and my Master’s in childhood education from Long Island University.
How did you discover Explore Schools?
10 years ago, my daughter enrolled at Explore Charter School as a kindergartener. She’s now in a great college-preparatory high school.
What was interviewing with Explore like?
The interview process felt genuine and reflective. The questions didn’t feel generic, and they were reflective of real-life classroom experiences.
Tell me about your day-to-day at Exceed:
We start each day at 7:30, and our students start with co-learning (partnerships or small groups) previously-taught skills through morning work. This is followed by a morning meeting (the students love this part of the day). Morning meeting sets the tone for the day. It gives students a chance to talk about and interact with things that matter most to them. The remainder of the day consists of reading, writing, and math taught in whole class and small groups.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love my students. They definitely my favorite part of the job. Each one of them comes with their own unique personality that they bring to the class. I feel like each and every one of them are a part of my extended family.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me was getting used to informal observations by administrators each day. In other schools when your principal or others enter the classroom, it can be nerve-racking. I had to get used to the culture at Explore, where observations are a tool to benefit me. It feels natural to me now, and it’s business as usual whenever others enter the room.
How would your colleagues describe you?
They’d say I remain calm when dealing with difficult situations, but passionate about my role. They’d probably also say I love to laugh.
What should future Explore Schools teachers know?
This is a great organization for new teachers. There are so many different ways that the network nurtures new teachers. It is also a great place to be if you’re looking to move from good to great in your practice.
Describe your relationship with the leadership team.
I feel very comfortable speaking to my team about anything. There is an open door policy, and they’re also very reflective when speaking to you about their own practices.
What does professional development look like for teachers at Explore Schools?
Working with a teacher who has experience in the field, collaborating with grade level team members and co teachers around lesson execution, attending workshops, reflecting on a lesson with leadership are just some of the things we do. There are so many ways to grow in your craft at Explore.
Tell us about a moment that brightened your day in the last year:
When my daughter was able to compete against my students in a multiplication face off. I thought she would let them win, but she didn’t. She pushed the students to be quicker and accurate. She also gave them an opportunity for a re-match. It was exciting to watch them challenge a high school student! They didn’t give up!