Married Lee County teachers’ perspectives on the new school year

Published: August 5, 2022 9:39 AM EDT
Updated: August 5, 2022 11:38 AM EDT

From the first-day outfit to locker decorations and bus schedules, teachers have a lot to think about before the first bell rings on the first day of a new school year. WINK News asked two Lee County teachers about what they see on the horizon for this school year.

“I’m excited to have another class family; that’s what I really try to foster in my classroom,” said kindergarten teacher Hayley Segal. She said Smartboards and Promethean boards are some of what this school year holds in store.

“I’ve been teaching kindergarten for the past nine years,” Segal said. “I think I’m kindergarten for life.”

She met her husband, Julian Segal, at Florida Gulf Coast University, where they bonded over their love of teaching. They have since grown together as husband and wife, and now as parents.

Their love of teaching hasn’t wavered.

“I’m a third grade teacher at Pinewoods Elementary, and I’ve taught fourth and fifth grade as well,” Julian Segal said. “This will be my 10th year teaching.”

A lot has changed in the decade they started in the SchoolD strict of Lee County. One of the biggest changes, for Hayley, is technology.

“We had six computers attached to a wall,” Hayley said. “Now, students have the freedom to take their computers to their desks.”

She was pregnant during the pandemic and taught virtually, which helped her explore the benefits of technology in the classroom.

“I use a lot of videos for the kids… I even learned different books that were animated,” hayley said.

Julian noticed that COVID-19 had another effect on their work.

“The biggest change is more so the kids socially… they need that modeling and maybe some reinforcement on how to really interact with their fellow students,” Julian said.

Another change this year: The FSA, the annual test used to judge how well your child learns, is gone–

“Instead of it being an end-of-the-year test that all the kids take, it seems like it’s going to have a few different sessions throughout the year,” Julian said. “So, the beginning of the year, the middle of the year, and then the end of the year as well.”

For the first time, the Segals will get a parent’s perspective of school, as their son is heading off to the classroom in the same school where his parents teach.

“I know how safe our school is… there’s cameras all over the school,” Hayley said. “Cafeteria, hallway, the bus ramp… we have our keys on all the time. Our doors are locked.”

From school safety to teaching social skills and keeping up with the constant evolution of education, there is much for a teacher to take in.

“Am I exhausted?” Hayley said. “Yes. Part of it is just… we do so much during the day.”

Teaching is a demanding job. As you drop your child off that first day, Hayley Segal asks that parents remember this: “The teacher is also a person when they go home.”