“When I think of big accomplishments, I always think of my students,” Goggins said. “Their victories are my victories as well. My greatest accomplishments as a teacher happen when my kids meet their goals.”
She said she wished people knew how much it takes to make a successful classroom. And it doesn’t have anything to do with being a strict teacher.
“I want people to understand the abundance of love and grace that is necessary to have a successful classroom. Rita Pierson is quoted as saying, ‘Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like,’” she said. “Teaching is not just curriculum; it is relationships.”
Goggins said her secret to maintaining those relationships is positive reinforcement. She said she tries to see the bigger picture behind her students and treat them as individuals.
“I am a firm believer in praise and positive reinforcement. If I have a student that struggles with behavior, I try to brag on them first thing in the morning when I see them make a good choice,” she said. “It is so important to understand the child’s background, interests and home life in order to appropriately handle discipline issues. There’s no one-size-fits-all option.”
Part of treating her students as individuals is finding something they’re interested in, especially when it comes to their studies. She said incorporating their interests and making learning fun is just one way parents can stay involved in their children’s academic life.
“Find things that your child is interested in, and try to incorporate learning into those activities. Read, read, read with your children as well,” she said. “Literacy is critical because it affects every other part of your child’s education.”
When she isn’t devoting herself to her classroom, Goggins works in ministry at Calvary Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa. She said her undergraduate experience encouraged her to make the decision to never leave.
“My experience at the University showed me that there are high quality schools and educators in the Tuscaloosa area,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of the great things happening here.”