Teacher Feature Blog Series – Kaci Elliot

We all remember a teacher who inspired us. An individual who has always believed in us, supported us through challenges, sparked our passion for a topic, or inspired us to keep going when we were discouraged. For me, I was fortunate enough to have many teachers who shaped my academic career and passion for education. In addition to being teachers, these individuals served as mentors, nurses, counselors, parents, friends, and ultimately, role models.

Teacher Feature, a new blog series by The School Planner Company, will highlight educators from all over the country. These teachers and education entrepreneurs make an impact in and outside of the classroom sharing valuable knowledge with students and fellow teachers through influential sites and blogs. We are excited to launch the Teacher Feature blog series and bring awareness to how much teachers do each day, the relationships they foster with their students, and ultimately, how we as a community can best support them. Look forward to new teacher features regularly!

If you know an amazing educator who you think we should feature, please let us know by emailing bmctigue@mimeo.com.

Kaci Elliot, Elliot’s Active Academy

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I did not start out as an education major in college; in fact it was something I chose to do after spending 10 years in another career in the private sector. Being a teacher is something I had thought about a few times after college, but I never dove in until I got a great opportunity. I knew teaching would be right for me because I wanted to influence the next generation and inspire them to be more physically active and find a love of being healthy. I also loved working with teenagers and building relationships with them in my previous career, so I knew that was another reason to switch careers.

What is one fun way you have motivated your students?

I teach high schoolers, but they are never too old for a prize box or a party! 

Tell us one of your most memorable moments of your teaching career?

It is hard for me to narrow down just one memorable moment because I have so many special moments. Over the past few years, my connection with students has grown and more students that have graduated are staying in contact. The fact that these college age kids still care to keep in contact makes me overwhelmingly happy.

What inspires you as a teacher and education influencer?

I believe that how I teach my physical education class is pretty unique and creative. I want to share my vision, activities, and the fun we have in my class with other teachers. I want them to understand that PE is not how it was when I was in school and that it is a real class too.

Teachers also learn so much from their students! What is something special one of your students taught you?

Perseverance and forgiveness. As teachers, we all have bad days and may not be the teacher we want to be on that day, but students are more forgiving of those bad days than adults. The students I teach also show an incredible amount of perseverance. My school has a challenging rigor and our students constantly show perseverance to succeed. 

What do you hope your students take away from your classroom?

For me in my specific physical education classroom, I hope that each student finds at least one physical activity they enjoy. The hope is that if they can find one thing they love to do, they are more likely to be physically active throughout their lifetime. 

Why do you feel paper planners are beneficial for students?

I am old school. I prefer a paper calendar and planner versus anything digital. I think students should opt for a paper planner even if they currently use a digital one as well. Paper planners force you to write by hand which helps your brain remember what you have written. If they are also like me, I color code EVERYTHING. I try to teach my students to do the same and use different colors for different classes or assignments so it is easier to see due dates when they look at their planner. 

Any creative tips for helping a student get into a routine of writing in a planner?

Use fun colors, stickers, highlighters etc. If it looks appealing, they are more likely to want to use it!

If you could design a teacher planner, what three things would you be sure it includes?

Month view, week view, and a section each day of “to do’s”

Research says writing things down by hand helps you retain information effectively and increases mindfulness. What is your perspective as an educator?

Personally I agree. I am very much a kinesthetic learner so I learn and remember by doing. By writing in my own planner, I am able to remember things I have written, or at least that I wrote something that I need to go back and check.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a new teacher?

If I were to give one piece of advice to a new teacher, it would be to always wear your smile and be consistent! Whatever you decide you want your classroom rules to be, be consistent in enforcing them so that you have an organized class with easy to understand rules and procedures. If students know what to expect of you and know they will be held accountable, they will (most times) rise to the challenge.

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Kaci Elliot

Ellliot's Active Academy

I have been in education for four years earning my teaching certificate through an alternate route, as I have a B.S. in Exercise Science. Before I made the jump into education, I worked for 10 years in the private sector as a Health Club Director. I felt the pull to education due to the rising childhood obesity numbers and the current state of physical education. I knew I could make an impact on today’s youth. In addition to teaching, I am an Assistant Athletic Director, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach, and Beta Club Sponsor. I started my small business, Elliot’s Active Academy, last November and am enjoying creating products and providing resources for other physical education teachers. I have big plans to expand my business and create a curriculum that incorporates the unique way I teach my classes. I am married to a PE teacher and coach and we have two kids, ages 6 and 18 months. I enjoy taking them to their extracurricular activities like baseball and swimming. In any other spare time I may have, I enjoy exercising, reading, and catching up on sleep!

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