Fourth grade teacher Faith Drobinski is this year's Clayton Elementary Teacher of the Year. Drobinski recently took a few minutes to talk about what she enjoys about teaching and what are the biggest challenges as an educator.

Q How do you feel about being named the Clayton Elementary Teacher of the Year?

A It's always good to be recognized for the things that you do because sometimes, especially in teaching, there's so many things from the state that you have to do, you don't always feel like you're valued. So it's always nice to be recognized for the hard work that you put in.

Q What inspired you to become a teacher?

A I was actually homeschooled for a few years by my mom from first to third grade. She always valued my education. She even went back to get her degrees and she loved school. She loved learning new things and taking classes for things. I think a lot of it was just the way that being at New Castle Baptist, and even when I went to William Penn, but just seeing how the teachers there made you feel like you were important with the relationship they built with you. But just the way they made you feel, making it not just feel like they were teaching you, but also that "you can come to me for things; I care for you." I was lucky even at William Penn because it's such a big school, the teachers there I had were really awesome and they made it fun.

Q What do you enjoy about teaching?

A Being able to make a difference in a kid, even if it's not just them learning. Seeing a difference in the way they interact with other people, the way they feel about what they do in a day and being able to influence them in a positive way. I love seeing kids when they come back to visit or when you see them, and they're so different. I love them, I just love seeing them.

Q What's the biggest challenge?

A I think trying to reach every child on every level because you have so many levels in a classroom. Being able to give every child the best education; to push this one more because they're more advanced or bringing this one up to get them where they need to be and do it well. I think that I would say differentiating instruction to meet every child's needs because it does take more work and it does take more planning. You have to be creative and it's not always easy.

Q What do you like about working in the Smyrna School District?

A Considering I've worked in Wilmington and in Dover, I don't see myself ever leaving because I love it, I do. I love the administration. I love the people I work with. I feel like the majority of students I have they just are good like they're families are great, they're very supportive.

There was a while in my first few years of teaching where I thought, "I don't know if I could do this for that long," but being here in Clayton, and I've never worked in another school in the Smyrna School District, but being in Clayton I feel like this is definitely what I want to do because I love it, I really do. I never dread coming to school. I don't ever think, "Oh, I don't want to go there today," where I have felt that in other places that I have worked. I feel like the district is very supportive of teachers as well as the students, but they definitely back the teachers and know that we work hard and recognize that; I like that.

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