Kendra Harwood gets in her car to go to work at South Elementary School in Eldon, Mo. where she is a first year teacher. Harwood sets her alarm for 5:15 a.m., rising before the sunrise, so she can have everything ready when her students arrive.
Kendra Harwood tells Alissa Houser to get her feet off her desk during class. “Kids are the whole reason I do it,” Harwood said. “They are the most important thing.”
Kendra Harwood helps Zoey Burns with an assignment. “I tell them every day I want what is best for you, I care about you, I love you,” Harwood said. “It’s all about the environment of the school and I think this school has the greatest environment.”
Kendra Harwood talks with Quinn Evans to calm him down. Harwood said that the biggest thing that she’s learned from her mother, a former national teacher of the year, is that you “listen first,” and make sure that they know that they’ve been heard.”
Kendra Harwood helps Lane Eden with a reading assignment. “You don’t want to feel like you are failing the kids,” Harwood said. “You want them to learn and grow.”
Kendra Harwood, right, speaks with fellow first grade teacher Jessica Goss about an incident involving two of their students. Harwood said she receives a great deal of support from her fellow teachers and staff at South Elementary. New teachers are assigned a mentor teacher but Harwood said all of her fellow first grade teachers are like mentors to her. “They’ve been absolutely amazing,” Harwood said.
Paige Engelbrecht, left, and Kendra Harwood work on lesson plans together while their students are at P.E. The two first year teachers went to Lincoln University together and collaborate on lesson plans and teaching strategies. ÒWe have been huge support for each other,Ò said Harwood. “Huge. We’re kind of each other’s go to.”
Kendra Harwood works on lesson plans for the next week on the dining room table while her father watches television in the next room. Harwood recently moved in with her parents but works long hours and rarely sees them.
A shelf in the Harwood home displays some of Kendra’s accomplishments including her college graduation photo and volleyball trophies.
Kendra Harwood puts on her makeup while getting ready to go to work. “Even when you’re not at school you’re still a teacher, everything you do is being watched by everybody,” Harwood said. “That’s been a big shift in my life.”
Kendra Harwood walks across the playground at South Elementary School as the sun rises behind the building. “My social life has gone way down since I got this job,” Harwood said. “It’s a twenty-four seven job. I come in every Sunday. I’m here till 5, 5:30 every night, sometimes later. Having a social life does affect teaching.”