Nicole Hendershot is returning to the classroom after 11 years away.
Hendershot previously spent two years teaching fifth and sixth grade in Burlington and then taught fifth grade at Lovell Elementary for a year before she made the decision to stay home to raise her children.
Education has always been a part of her, Hendershot said
“I remember distinctively deciding in eighth grade, I had an awesome US U.S. history teacher and for part of our unit we got the opportunity to teach a decade of history to our classmates and everybody else was dreading, and I was so excited. I knew from that point on, there was no question that I was destined to be a teacher,” she said
That’s not to say there hasn’t been a learning curve in coming back to the classroom. Even the grading has changed, Hendershot said
“It’s like riding a bike on fire,” Hendershot joked. “Some things are like
riding a bike, and other things I have a lot to learn as things change and grow every time. I’ve had to learn the new lingo and the new requirements and things like that.”
One thing hasn’t changed, Hendershot said, forming a relationship with her students.
“It’s easy to build relationships with kids, and get to know them and help them get better,” Hendershot said. “I missed that regular interaction with the kids. I missed being able to see them take hold on that new idea and have those lightbulb moments where they really finally get a concept. Just getting to see them light up.”
She’s happy to be back in the fifth grade, too, Hendershot said. It’s an exciting age at which to get to know a child.
“I like that they have a lot of independence. They’re still relying on you as a teacher to guide their learning but they’re at an independent level where they can grasp new concepts and think deeply about what they’re learning,” she said. “They’re fun. It’s a fun group. They’re starting to figure themselves out and figure out who they are.”
Hendershot teaches just about everything there is to teach in her classroom as one can’t help but do in an elementary classroom, but reading and math is where her heart lies.
“Those are my favorite things to teach,” Hendershot said. “I’ve always been a reader, and my goal is to help my kids find a book that they love and won’t be able to put down. If I can share that with them and help them get there, I’ll feel like I succeeded.”
Hendershot said another focus of hers is to teach her students a healthy balance between fun and hard work.
“One thing I always want my students to take away is that we can have a lot of fun but we’re not here to just have fun, we can work hard, and play when it’s time to play, and work hard when it’s time to work hard,” Hendershot said. “We’re not just producing robots, we’re producing humans.”
Hendershot went to Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where she graduated with a degree in elementary education and a minor in special education.
She has been a resident of Lovell for 15 years.
By Ryan Fitzmaurice