DCSS Teacher of the Year Finalist: Kanese Rachel

Kanese Rachel is the Teacher of the Year for Lincoln Elementary Magnet School.

Kanese Rachel said she's never pictured herself not being in school, even when she was a student herself.

"Every day, I looked forward to see my teachers, looked forward to seeing my classmates and also going in and doing what I needed to do as far as completing my classwork, homework, anything that I could do to excel," she said.

That's what led her into teaching and into her seventh year at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School.

In that time, one of her biggest challenges has been figuring out how to cater to each individual student.

"No student is the same," she said. "Teaching is not cookie cutter, so we have to make sure that we instruct the students based on the needs that they have and also based on their interests because I never want them to be bored with the materials that I am giving them."

Rachel said she often turns to small group instruction in her third grade language arts and social studies classes for this.

"Not only does it give them the ability to move so that they're not sitting in the same desk all day, but it also gives them the chance to converse with their classmates, to collaborate, to also just be able to work on their communication skills," she said.

"I like the fact that we do fun things in each group," one of her students, Breanna Webb, said.

Rachel said the most rewarding part of teaching is helping each student grow.

"To see the skill that they struggle with at the beginning of the school year, and that they're now excelling and meeting the requirements and even going beyond my expectations," she said.

But she can't wait for her students to move on and learn even more.

"I've even had some say, 'Can I come back to your class?'" Rachel said. "Like, no, you have to move on and go on to the next grade level, and I let them know I miss them too."

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