Patti Gillies

IMG_3460 Patti retired after teaching 26 years in Alief Independent School District. Most of her teaching career was spent with kindergarteners. “What was exciting to me was watching their eyes light up when they learned how to read something new or when I read to them. They would be so mesmerized by the story. That was the best part.”

“Many of the students were bilingual and their parents worked during the day in hourly wage jobs. This made it challenging for parents to find time to work with their children. One of the things I did was change the day that homework was due from Friday to Monday. It was amazing the difference in the quality of work that was submitted with this small difference.”

The majority of kids who entered her kindergarten class each year were really not prepared. “The biggest difference was whether or not they had gone to preschool. Those children were a lot more prepared than the children who did not attend kindergarten. I normally had 22 kids in each of my classes. It was really tough meeting the needs of each group of children and their level.”

As a community, Patti believes that we could help more children be better prepared for kindergarten by helping more parents understand the importance of reading to their children and by providing them with books and writing tools. “Read to them. Talk with them. Even if they can’t understand the words, they can look at the pictures and point out the things that they see.”