A Day in the Life of a Teacher

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, POE takes a behind the curtain view of what education looks like in 2020

Depending on where you live in Oklahoma, school has been in session anywhere from a week to a month. And on Tuesday, Sept. 15, POE is hosting “A Day in The Life of a Teacher” in which five teachers will help transport you, virtually, to their classrooms. Educators participating in “A Day in The Life of a Teacher” will share various aspects of their day from classroom layout to lunchtime to lesson planning, as well as anything else interesting they might experience.

These five teachers are members of Professional Oklahoma Educators and will share what their day looks like at school:

Jessica Dickinson – Capitol Hill High School; Virtual
Jessica is a sophomore English teacher from Capitol Hill High School with Oklahoma City Public Schools. This is Jessica’s fifth year of teaching, all at Capitol Hill. Jessica is currently pursuing her Master’s in Learning Sciences degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Tonya Daniel – Bennington Public Schools; In Person
Tonya is a special education teacher for grades 7-12 with Bennington Public Schools. She has taught English for 18 years. This is her third year in Special Education for a total of 21 years in the classroom. Tonya is teaching in person. She has been married to her husband David for seven years. They have a son, Phillip, and daughter-in-law, Ashley, along with two paw babies named Ariel and Shortcake.

Anthony Hutchinson – Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools; In Person
Anthony teaches instrumental music (band) for students in grades 6-12. He also teaches K5 music. Mr. Hutchinson has taught in both private and public schools since receiving his Music Education degree from Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri in 1979. He has been in the Chouteau-Mazie School District the past 15 years and thoroughly enjoys working with administration, teachers, students and the community.

Anne Graham – Burlington Elementary School; In Person and Distance Learning Packets
Anne is a 1st grade teacher at Burlington Elementary School, a very small, rural school with approximately 130 students in the entire district. She has nine students doing in-class/traditional learning and one student who participates in distance learning. This is Anne’s 12th year of teaching. 

Tana Sylvester – Cyril Public Schools; In Person and Virtual
Tana is a veteran teacher of 33 years, having taught kindergarten through sixth grade in her career. She taught at Sterling Public Schools for 26 years and has been at Cyril Public Schools for seven years, where she currently teaches Pre-K. She has a daughter and son, and four grandchildren.

“With the start of school changing weekly – whether in-person, virtual or hybrid – teachers participating in a focus group with Professional Oklahoma Educators wanted to show teachers as flexible, resilient individuals who love what they do,” said Ginger Tinney, executive director of Professional Oklahoma Educators. “The idea for chronicling educators throughout the day is a result of the teacher focus group wanting to show positive stories from the classroom.”

The teachers’ experiences will be posted throughout the day on ILoveTeaching.blog.

Woodward Educator a Champion for Public Education

Sonya Covalt, English Language Arts Teacher at Woodward Middle School

Sonya Covalt

Sonya Covalt is a Texan currently living in Woodward for 23 years. Although her noted publications include church-related materials such as funeral dinner sign-ups, bulletin blurbs, student bios for Senior Sunday, Vacation Bible School and Sunday School materials, she is perhaps best known for her acclaimed and prolific essay comments, spunky emails to administration, witty Facebook posts, and a plethora of IT requests.

A veteran teacher of 27 years, Sonya is passionate about her students and English Language Arts, and is also a champion for public education. She was featured in May 2020 on KFOR’s series, “Is This a Great State or What?!” with journalist Galen Culver.

The feature story was titled, “These OK teachers come up with unique way for keeping students engage at home.” Sonya delivered on a promise to her 8th graders to dress up in crazy costumes after Spring Break, making online instruction an interesting adventure.

Rewards of Being a Teacher
“Becoming a teacher was not a decision I made. It was a call I answered. In the classroom, I have the opportunity to be a source of light, a safe haven, an encourager, and an advocate, as well as an educator. Building relationships with young minds and watching them grow both academically and personally is a gift I am blessed to receive,” Sonya said. “It’s my job, but it’s also my passion. I don’t remember making the choice to teach. I remember attempting other career paths and having each of those choices diverted back to education every time. This is where I am supposed to be. My 8th graders bring me joy every single day, which is truly one of the great rewards of teaching.”

Why I love POE
“As a member of POE, I feel valued, supported, and heard.  No other teacher organization in Oklahoma holds a candle to POE in terms of liability coverage, legal services, cost, and lobbying. My money stays in my state and is only used for matters related to education,” Sonya said. “I am given the opportunity to participate in round table discussions with members of our legislature, as well as the governor.  Our government relations team is second to none, where educational matters are concerned.  POE helps me be a better teacher because their number one priority is to serve and support their members. Professional Oklahoma Educators is like my personal cheer leading squad, boosting my confidence and cheering me on, so I can give my very best to my precious students.”

Sonya Covalt (right) attends a Round Table Discussion with Governor Kevin Stitt. She and fellow teachers take time for a photo opp with the governor following the meeting.

Sonya is a lover of people and a life-long fan of English singer, songwriter, musician and composer Paul McCartney. She has an inexplicable obsession with the British drama series Downton Abbey, is an over-the-top celebrator of Halloween, and is completely infatuated with her sons, Campbell and Colby.

Sonya’s absolute greatest joy in life, however, is in serving Jesus Christ.

Passionate about English Language Arts, Sonya Covalt dresses up in crazy costumes to make online learning an adventure for her students.