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Sophia Pappas

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Author of the book "Good Morning Children: My First Years in Early Childhood Education" speaks about her experience as a first year teacher and the challenges that face teachers and parents.

The first years of teaching are full of unexpected problems and issues that can challenge and frustrate even the most experienced early childhood educator.

Based on my Pre-K Now blog, my book Good Morning, Children provides an up-close and personal view of the challenges and successes of a beginning teacher. The book describes daily encounters with students, family members, and administrators; reflects on the state of early childhood education in America; and celebrates the ways pre-K teachers can help prepare every child to succeed in both school and life.

In chronicling the successes and failures of my first years as an early childhood educator, I cover a wide range of topics that both new and experienced educators face in the early childhood classroom.

Among other important issues, I

• describe the activities, lessons, and teaching techniques I used to help my students learn and grow.

• provide insights about the importance of classroom preparation, for both the school year and each individual day.

• share ideas about how to interact successfully with over- and under-involved parents and family members, highlighting the importance of family involvement to each child’s success.

• stress the significance of listening and adjusting, not only to the needs of the children in your care and to the family members of those children, but, just as important listening and adjusting to your own needs as an educator.

I joined Teach For America after graduating from Georgetown University in 2003. As a Newark corps member, I taught public school pre-K where I furthered the growth of my students in all developmental domains, making sure that they entered kindergarten with the foundation of skills needed to succeed.

While teaching, I advanced the professional development of other early childhood educators by serving as a model teacher in the district and becoming the model used to train Teach For America pre-K corps members across the country. I also contributed to the larger dialogue about the prospects of high quality pre-K by being Pre-K Now’s first teacher blogger from 2006-7. During that time, I partnered with Gryphon House to publish a book based on my experiences in the classroom. The final product, Good Morning, Children: My First Years in Early Childhood Education, will be published in April 2009.

In 2007, I left the classroom to help expand Teach For America's early childhood education initiative in urban and rural areas across the country. I am currently pursuing a Master's in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

I aim to leverage my insights from the classroom, Teach For America, and graduate school to shape policies that ensure all children can realize their potential.

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