B.A., St. Andrews Presbyterian College
Betsey Gaddy is a kindergarten teacher in the Lower School and she has been working at Carolina Day School since 2007. Betsey has taught and been an assistant in both pre-k and kindergarten at CDS. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in 1992. Betsey taught in a preschool, right out of college, then worked at Biltmore Estate in the group sales department coordinating school and educational visits to the property. She taught for three years at Central United Methodist Weekday School, before joining pre-k at CDS in 2007. She has received her Associate Level Orton-Gillingham training and she completed the Key Learning Center Multi-Sensory Structured Language Classroom Educator course.
Get to know Betsey Gaddy:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “With the multi-sensory approach to teaching at CDS, our teachers and students participate in learning through all their senses. This allows us to experience the curriculum, not simply teach it. At CDS, teachers indeed hold great power in our hands. With that power, we are challenged to inspire and to demonstrate to students the ways to create a positive, respectful community.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “Teachers, children, and parents smile at CDS. I love that because great teachers smile while teaching, along with working hard, we almost always have fun. I love what I am doing and have great enthusiasm for teaching. I spend my days with happy people. We are devoted, passionate, and smiling. :)”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “Our language and words can lift a child to their highest potential. At CDS, we help them build positive relationships and encourage them to think, to act, and, ultimately, to learn differently and successfully. We ask open-ended questions (even as early as Pre-k) to stretch their thinking. We provide a safe, positive, respectful community where a child is challenged to be an individual and to reach their highest potential.”
How would you describe your classroom? “A positive, safe environment where a child’s mind, body, and spirit are embraced, loved, and respected.”
What books and authors inspire you? “I have recently re-read Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods” book. I am overly inspired by his stunning findings of why it is so beneficial for our children to “play outdoors.” His findings of essential healthy childhood development and the need for direct exposure to nature are refreshing and important. My Pre-k class has spent plenty of time playing in the woods this year and they have used their creativity to make-up games and find “treasure” in nature that may not have been found before. Asking open-ended, curious questions to prompt deeper thinking is provided through natural play. Creativity and imagination come to life when WE play in the woods.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “Good teaching is as much about passion as it is about reason...It’s about caring for your craft, having a passion for it, and conveying that passion to everyone, most importantly to your students.”
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “My devotion and passion for every child makes a difference.”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “My alter-ego, Nancy Nature, arrives once a month to deliver a science lesson (one that may not be so fun, if she didn’t “dress it up.”) She/I was teaching the water cycle to the class one morning. The experiment was to cause precipitation to fall, after allowing enough condensation to collect from a boiling pot of water. The children had already learned that science is not always accurate and needs to be proven or disproven. The pot was boiling with a plastic tray covering the top, we waited to see if enough water vapors had collected on the tray to cause precipitation. The first try failed and no amount of water had risen to the tray. We tried again, with little luck....then one child said, “Maybe you should let the water boil harder and leave the tray there longer to see if it works with more condensation on the tray.” We waited patiently, without a sound, and what do you know, when Nancy lifted the tray, drops fell rapidly to the floor. The words, “We made it rain in the classroom.” It was a success! The children took credit in experiencing a true scientific event and remind me that pace and patience pays off. Their sense of wonder and curiosity is a proven fact daily.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “I am the proud mom of two amazing kids. Kate, a rising sophomore, at the University of Kentucky and son, Frank, a rising senior in high school. We enjoy walking, reading, and traveling together. I hope my love for them is exhibited to my students and my maternal instincts are obvious to them and to their parents."
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? “My greatest desire is to be a mother of strong, secure children and to smile all the while. Interesting, that is the same desire I have as a teacher at Carolina Day School.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “Our 'out of the box' thinking and allowance for creativity is not what I experienced in school. The constant desire at CDS to do well and follow the Golden Rule is a reminder of what many of us did not have in our schools growing up. The ability to be an individual, to think/speak for themselves and to feel secure in learning is how we change lives daily here. These are not only academic, social, and emotional skills, but they are life skills. I believe the CDS community gets satisfaction and pleasure knowing what we have brought to other people’s lives. We have made an impact and a difference. Thomas A. Edison was quoted saying, 'Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.' My belief is that the CDS community prides itself in 'trying just one more time.'”