Danielle Moore, a full-time lecturer in the College of Education, tapped into her prior experience as an early childhood educator and kindergarten teacher to work with her college students this semester.
“My background is nurturing and understanding,” she said. “That’s how we are as early childhood teachers. I’ve really had to come back to that this semester.”
Her classes are a mix of remote and web-assisted styles, and she recognized the challenge of distance learning for her students.
“Remote teaching is challenging, but remote learning is even more challenging,” she said. “When we do these Zooms, it’s important to go into breakout rooms, give time to chat with each other, and always open it up with, ‘How are you doing?’”
She also implemented more patience and flexibility into her classroom norms.
“I am not being as strict as I would in the past on submitting assignments simply because things are happening in their lives that wouldn’t happen in another semester.”
Despite the challenge, Moore has found a silver lining from teaching through a screen.
“Using the Zoom has been fantastic,” she commented. “Maybe a student can’t come to my office during my office hours, but we can do this anytime…. I really think incorporating virtual office hours has been a great thing.” Moore said she wants to continue it beyond COVID.
“I tell them, ‘Anytime of the day we can hop on Zoom. I can set up a Zoom in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is email me and tell me what time’…. I couldn’t tell you the number of Zoom calls I do individually with students.”
Originally from Brunswick, Georgia, Moore’s family moved to Middle Tennessee when she was in high school.
She graduated with her degree in early childhood education from MTSU in 1997 and did not foresee a return to campus.
“I remember saying, ‘I will never set foot back on this campus,’” she said with a laugh. “I left [MTSU], and I got my job, and I was a kindergarten teacher.”
While teaching, Moore earned her master’s degree in education from Cumberland University in 2002.
A few years later, she returned to her alma mater and happily began a career in the college classroom. Eleven years later, Moore still loves her work at MTSU.
“It has been a blessing,” she explained. “The people that I work with are wonderful. I couldn’t ask for a better job. I don’t feel like I work, even though I do.”
Moore teachers three courses and serves 150 students on average per semester. Her work ranges from instructing freshmen about the concept of differentiated instruction to preparing upperclassmen for their semester of student teaching in a preschool classroom.
A fun surprise of the job is that Moore occasionally has students in her college classes that she taught as children.
“Every semester over the past two years I’ve had one of my students I taught in kindergarten in one of my college classes,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing. It’s full circle.”
Moore does not want to set foot, for work, anywhere else.
“I hope that I can remain in this job for the next 20 years,” she said. “That is my goal.”
— Stephanie Barrette (Stephanie.Barrette@mtsu.edu)