This past week we recognized Coach Whetzel as the 2023 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award. Travis Whetzel is a...
Meet our Team: Garden Blincow
From “playing school” as a child to leading Charleston Day’s Kindergarten program
That’s the kind of teacher I wanted to be. One where my students wanted to come visit me at home and felt welcomed.
Why did I become a teacher?
As a little girl, I spent hours pretending to be a teacher. I had a black chalkboard on the wall in my bedroom, colorful sticks of chalk, rulers, crayons, reams of poster paper, and an old set of McGuffy’s readers. No students, so I would place all of the materials in front of my dolls and stuffed animals and away I would go.
I had many teachers who lived close by, so my friends and I would ride our bicycles over to their houses. One of us would get up enough courage to ring the doorbell! We would be invited inside and offered a cookie as we visited. That’s the kind of teacher I wanted to be — one where my students wanted to come visit me at home and felt welcomed.
What is one of your favorite children’s books?
One of my favorites is The Chicken Thief by Béatrice Rodriguez. It is a wordless picture book about an unexpected friendship between a fox and a hen. It has a great message about the pitfalls of judgements, assumptions and stereotypes. It is one of the first books the children are introduced to, and every year I learn something new from their interpretations of the drawings which are whimsical and full of emotion, movement and humor. Grab a copy and “judge” for yourself!
What is the best advice you have been given?
My mother has given me great advice, some from her strong faith, some from her southern roots, and some from her own life experiences. I grew up with lots of idioms that have helped me define who I am. Ones that I have tried to pass along in the classroom are “When you know better, you do better.” and “Short cuts make long delays.” One of my most favorite expressions might be, “Nice manners and a good lipstick can cover a multitude of flaws.” As a teacher, I try to remember “Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You might have to eat what you planted one day.”
If I could get an extra hour in a day how would I use it?
I think I would start the habit of journaling. I make lots of to-do lists, but do not take time to reflect on things. Journaling has proven to be a healthy choice, in addition to eating all the right foods, so I think I would add journaling to my plate!
What is my favorite CDS tradition?
Although it is not a tradition, I love that everyone at CDS speaks to one another. The culture in each classroom and in the hallways is friendliness and thoughtfulness. Each child feels like they are a valued member of not just their class, but the whole school community. Children feel that school is a place where they fit in, are cared for, feel safe to make mistakes and take risks, and have fun throughout the school year. That is a tradition we celebrate every day, not just once a year!