Cross says her favorite part of teaching first grade is the privilege of helping her students learn to read. Though sometimes a difficult task, for her, the reward makes up for all the hard work.
“When you get to be the one they get to share that ‘ah ha’ moment with, it makes it all worth it. First graders go from knowing letters and a few sounds to realizing that these words make sense, and it can open their mind to the world of imagination.”
As it turns out, Cross shares her dedication to helping children learn with her sister, Farrah. A fellow teacher, Farrah greatly influences her by keeping a positive spirit and continuing to focus on her students while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Cross says her sister’s ability to keep going in the face of hardship inspires her to get through her day.
“Building that sense of community is one of my goals each year in my classroom,” Cross said. “I want each child to be able to relate to each other and depend on each other like a family.”
Ultimately, Cross knows the importance of treating her students as individuals. Whether it’s a private lesson or an exercise break, she knows her students thrive in an environment where they feel supported and comfortable. She even became one of the first in the school to adopt a flexible seating policy, allowing her students to choose the floor or a moving desk over a traditional desk.
“Some need a cheerleader, some a listener, others may need more guidance and support,” she said. “I tell my students that I am their school momma. I treat my students like my own children, and I strive to be the teacher I would want for my own children.”