BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – For the students at Briarcliff Manor’s Todd Elementary School, summer break ends in the middle of this week. But for teachers like Michelle Kiger, summer break never began.
Kiger, a first-grade teacher, has worked in the Briarcliff School District for 15 years. But the time has blended together, she says, because she is always thinking of new ways to prepare her class for the next year and always looking for new opportunities. So between many hours spent tutoring over the summer, Kiger consistently comes back to Todd to prepare her classroom for the new year.
“It’s all about making sure the classroom environment is ready for the kids,” Kiger said. “When they come in you can help them feel better about their new environment and get off to the right start so you can start building this community.”
Kiger started in the district working as a teachers' aide for a kindergarten class at Todd Elementary School. But when a new position in the school opened up, Kiger says she couldn’t refuse the new opportunity.
“I love teaching younger kids and I just love working with this district,” she said. “Briarcliff has so many great things to offer its students.”
It’s not uncommon for teachers who have worked in the same district for several years to lose a bit of energy, but Kiger says she has never had that problem in Briarcliff.
“I can’t believe it. I think each and every year is new and exciting because there’s always something new here,” she said. “For me and the kids, we’re starting a new reading program and a new math program. That’s going to be really exciting learning that new program.”
The district eliminated teachers’ aides at the end of the last school year and brought on teaching assistants. The assistants, who are all certified to teach in New York, will be able to add a new element to the district.
“I think it could be a fantastic opportunity for collaboration,” Kiger said. “It’s not only a new set of hands and eyes but it’s someone new to bounce ideas off of [and] bring in a different perspective. It should be a really great year.”