Lessons in Learning - Copsey

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“I feel such a close connection with my students and their families.  I want to see them succeed here at St. Mary’s and beyond.  They are all a huge part of my life,” Kelly Copsey, St. Mary’s teacher of 11 years, exclaimed.

Copsey, a native of Bloomington, attended St. Mary’s and River Ridge. She remembers having several teachers who brought positivity to her years of schooling, inspiring her to teach also.

She recalled, “During my senior year of high school, I did my school-to-work in the River Ridge Elementary. I knew at that point that I wanted to work with kids and help them to have a positive school experience just as I had.” Copsey attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville to receive her teaching degree.

“I really enjoy working in a Catholic School,” she said. “I started teaching at St. Andrew-Thomas in Potosi. I was there for four years. After having my second child, an opening came at St. Mary’s. I chose to come here, because it was best for our family.”

Copsey explained her normal day at work, “We begin each day with prayer. We then go through the morning routine, breakfast and calendar. The rest of the morning is used for Literacy Stations. In first and second grade, we use the Superkids Reading Program. Next is lunch and recess. After lunch, we have math, science, social studies, religion and daily specials, which include art, physical education, technology, and music.”

“I love [first and second grade,] because they are so excited about learning. Every day is a new day, and they are always happy to see me,” she added.

“I absolutely love hearing my kids pray each morning and read and sing at church each Thursday morning,” Copsey told about her favorite parts of teaching. I love those moments when students go from reading with support to independent reading.”

She listed some of her favorite activities involved in her career, “Each morning we go around the classroom and say what we are praying for. It really helps us all feel as close as a family. Every other year I do a Team MVP project where the students each have a special week to share certain parts of their family life with the class. I also love to do Book Club with my second graders.”

Many fond memories have developed during Copsey’s time at the school. “About eight years ago on my birthday, my class wanted to surprise me with a party. They turned off the lights and hid behind the bookshelf. Each of the students made me a card. They placed them in a remote-control truck and drove them to me as I entered the classroom.  They surprised me with flowers and treats.”

Another memory included two of her first-grade students memorizing every president from Washington to Obama and listing them to her for show-and-tell.

For Copsey, the hardest parts of teaching are, “So much is expected of the kids at such a young age. It is hard to find the time to fit all the learning into the school day. Time goes way too fast.”

In the summers, Copsey helps teach River Ridge summer school and works at the Bloomington Ball Park concession stand.

For the future, she sees herself continuing to teach at St. Mary’s.

“Be kind. Be giving. Always lean on your coworkers for support and ideas,” Copsey advices for the next generation of teachers, who will inspire students just as she has. “Each child is a unique gift from God!  What may work for one might not work for another.”

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