Hello Parents and Students,
I will spend this next year getting to know all the things that make each student in my class special and irreplaceable. Perhaps you are curious about your child's teacher.
My name is Sarah Culpepper Chen, I was born in Houston, Texas on August 17th. I spent my childhood in Texas with my older sister and younger brother and many, many ranch animals. My mother and father still live on the same ranch in Kendalia, Texas. I just got married this March to my boyfriend of 3 years: Dr. Eric Chen. He has a PhD in chemical engineering and works at U.T. on carbon capture research.
In my early years my mother started to realize something was 'off' about the way I read. It turned out I was dyslexic and had been memorizing books read to me so I could 're-read' them later on. I soon understood that learning was not always easy, but well worth the effort! After years of working with my mother and teachers, I was able to learn enough coping skills and comprehension tools to make reading enjoyable! Although reading was a struggle in elementary and middle school, I went on to excel in high school and college. I was in the gifted and talented program, AP classes, and the National Honor Society and National Merit Scholar. I enjoyed playing many sports in high school. I lettered in cross-country, volleyball, cheer leading, power lifting, basketball, and track. My favorite extra curricular activities were U.I.L. academic competitions. I had many great teachers who loved children and loved inspiring children to learn. One of those teachers took a quiet little girl and taught her to speak in front of large groups of people. From then on, I loved story telling and acting in school plays. In middle and high school I began to complete in One Act Play and Prose/Poetry Interpretation and won many UIL state medals. I was a member of the National Forensic League and have coached students for National speech and debate competitions.
I went to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor where I double majored and graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in 2004. I then went to the Beijing Language and Culture University for my first post graduate studies in Linguistics. I began teaching English at Beijing Normal University’s Experimental Primary School For The Gifted and at the Phillip Hayden Foundation (a non-profit orphanage). I had classes spanning all ages; some classes with more than 50 students. I loved every minute of it! I would wake up excited to plan the lessons and see the children’s faces light up when they understood a new concept. I came home to the states and went BACK to school yet again for , my masters in Early Childhood - 4th Grade Education. Learning is so powerful. I believe that one never stops learning. I learn form my students each day and spend my summers abroad volunteering in different cultures to learn from them.
This is my 11th year to teach kindergarten in the U.S. and my 13th year teaching in the primary grades. I am G.T., E.S.L., TESOL, SAMA, and CPR/First Aid certified. I strive to be one of those exciting teachers who inspire your children to love learning and fuel their creativity and self-confidence. I believe that teaching the 'whole child' is just as important as their academic learning, (ie...self esteem, social skills, morality and good citizenship). I believe that children learn best when they feel loved, respected and protected by their teacher.
For the past three summers I have visited Haiti and teach at a school in La Valle. While I help the senior class run the school the nuns who serve there year-round get a few weeks off to go home and visit their families. They are some amazing women and the students are inspiring!
I hope this helps you get to know the person that will be spending time with your child each day. I can’t wait to get to know them and all the things that make them so special. I truly LOVE what I do. This is the best career and I found my 'calling'. While the hours can be long and you lie awake at night worrying about little kiddos, nothing beats being a teacher. I feel excited to see these little ones grow and develop physically, academically, emotionally and socially. To play a role in that fills me with purpose and passion. Being a teacher means you get to effect change on a daily basis. You see quick results from your love, labor and effort. I love all my students, unconditionally and I can't wait to build a relationship with them this year.