Five Oklahoma Teachers Share Their Day with Us

POE is hosting “A Day in The Life of a Teacher” today, Sept. 15, in which five teachers will help transport you, virtually, to their classrooms. Educators participating in today’s live blog will share various aspects of their day from classroom layout to lunchtime to lesson planning, as well as anything else interesting they might experience. Enjoy as we post throughout the day from these teachers:

  • Jessica Dickinson – Capitol Hill High School; Virtual
  • Anne Graham – Burlington Elementary School; In Person and Distance Learning Packets
  • Anthony Hutchinson – Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools; In Person
  • Tonya Daniel – Bennington Public Schools; In Person
  • Tana Sylvester – Cyril Public Schools; In Person and Virtual

Happy Tuesday from Anne Graham.
Anne is a 1st grade teacher with Burlington Elementary School. This is the start of her day where all is peaceful and the classroom is in order. Students (no parents are allowed in the building) at 7:40 a.m. 

Students must have their temperature form filled out or meet the staff on the sidewalk to get it taken before entering the building. Buses arrive at different times, which makes the halls less crowded. In our building we have four classes – Pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd.

Anne’s classroom at Burlington.
When students arrive, they hang up their backpacks that line the hallway.

Breakfast is distributed by the coach to students at Burlington.

In the morning when students arrive, Anne fills out a breakfast and lunch form. Her school day starts at 8 a.m. but with meals being served in the classroom and not knowing the exact time they will arrive, it makes staying on a schedule a challenge.  Our administrative assistant and boys basketball coach delivers our breakfasts every morning.


Meet Jessica Dickinson. She’s a sophomore English teacher at Capitol Hill High School.

Normally the hallways at Capitol Hill would be full of students but the photo below shows what it looks like during passing period before school. The hallway is empty since the students are studying virtually.

Jessica begins her day taking attendance online and then starts teaching class online as well.

Empty hallways at Capitol Hill High School since students attend class virtually.
Jessica begins her day by taking attendance.
Jessica teaching class from her classroom at Capitol Hill High School.


The Burlington librarian with her suitcase of books.

Back to Burlington with Anne Graham.

Every Tuesday and Friday the school librarian visits Anne Graham’s classroom with a suitcase full of books for the kids. The students each get two books to read and then take an AR (accelerated reader) test on the books. Next to our classroom’s back door there is a book return basket mounted on the wall for the librarian to collect returned books.

Anne’s classroom library has at least 700 books for students to read. All my books are labeled with AR levels, points, and test numbers.

Here are a few of the 700 books Burlington 1st graders can read in Anne’s class.
A classroom book return basket makes it easy for the librarian to collect returned books.

Anthony Hutchinson

Anthony Hutchinson arrives at Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools in northeast Oklahoma.

Upon entering the building, Anthony has his temperature checked. Once cleared he heads to his classroom to prepare for a day of teaching instrumental music to students in grades 6-12.

He 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 for the past 15 years.

Anthony Hutchinson getting his temperature checked prior to entering the school building at Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools.
Anthony gets ready for a day of teaching instrumental music.
The band room at Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools.

Anthony prepares for third hour.

Anthony Hutchinson conducting music class.

Before lunchtime, Anne Graham works with small groups for her reading block where she uses the phonics curriculum Pathways to Reading. Anne is pictured reading to students at a half moon table, implementing safety precautions with cardboard dividers.


Jessica Dickinson brags on Capitol Hill’s cafeteria workers: “Our cafeteria workers do a wonderful job caring for our students. Students can pick up food in front of the cafeteria.”


Meet Tonya Daniel, a special education teacher for grades 7-12 with Bennington Public Schools.

Teachers have such giving hearts and during Tonya’s prep period today, she donated blood. “I learned that they (Oklahoma Blood Institute) get the vast majority of their donations from schools! “

Please donate if you’re able. Visit www.obi.org for more information.


Anthony Hutchinson has lunch duty in the parking lot today. “Fortunately, it is nice outside,” Anthony said.

Tonya Daniel (right) is on lunch duty at Bennington Public Schools with co-worker, Shelly Anteau who is also a POE member.


At Burlington, lunch arrived today at 11:11 a.m. While eating lunch, students in Anne Graham’s class rotate daily between watching nature videos and Spirit on Netflix.


It is now afternoon and it’s back to band practice for Anthony Hutchinson.

From sharing a music video with students in his 5k music class (left) to directing the high school marching band, Anthony demonstrates the important value of music in life, no matter what age.


Music class continues, but this time the students in Anne Graham’s class are learning about percussion instruments. While the students are in music class, Anne takes time for her planning period.  


Tana Sylvester is with Cyril Public Schools. Standing in front of a banner at school that says, “I Can…I Will,” seems most appropriate for Tana as she is teaching in-person and virtually.

In the video below, Tana sings a song with her Pre-K students and then goes over a lesson on chores. The video camera is connected online so students can attend virtually along with their fellow students who are in person.


Thank you to our teachers who participated in “A Day in the Life of the Teacher.” We appreciate the time you took to share a glimpse into your classrooms, showing us what education looks like in 2020.

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.

Sharing His Love for Music with Others

Chauvin Aaron, Associate Director of Fine Arts and Bands, Ardmore City Schools

Inspired by his Aunt Evelyn to never stop learning, Chauvin Aaron wanted to create music and share his knowledge with others. Teaching is the career that paved the way for him to do both. According to Chauvin, being a music teacher is a gateway to communicate with anyone, from all walks of life. As a teacher you can go change the world, and Chauvin has certainly impacted numerous lives of students, families and community members.

Counselor Provides Tools for Student Success

Kylie Peeler studied history in college and has enjoyed teaching at Mangum High School for 10 years. She now serves as the school counselor and helps students prepare for life after high school. Whether a student is going to college or career tech, joining the military or going into the workforce, Kylie’s goal is to equip students to be successful in life.

Kylie loves to read and spend time outdoors, taking walks with her two small children. Her husband is a farmer and rancher, and when it’s nice outside, the family spends time with him, looking at the cattle and helping feed the cattle.

Listen to Kylie as shares why she loves teaching:

Mangum High School, located in Southwest Oklahoma.

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.