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Why I Teach: Annie Giarla-Carr

Kindergarten Teacher

6 years teaching, 5 at Country Day
BS, Rhodes College

Why did you become a teacher?

I am dyslexic, so school wasn’t super easy for me. I went to Durham Academy, which is very much like Country Day, and had amazing teachers who looked out for me and helped me along the way. I don’t think I would have had that if I had gone somewhere else. When I moved to Charlotte, I wanted to find a private school and be that kind of teacher for other children.

Growing up, I also knew that I didn’t want to work a corporate job where I sat at a desk all day; teaching is the opposite of that. I never know what I’m going to get when I walk in the door. The children are so excited to come to school, so it’s hard not to catch that contagiousness and just be as excited as they are to come in every day. I love seeing their little faces and knowing that when I show up to teach, I really am making a difference in the world. 

Why do you like teaching kindergarteners?

Honestly, all of it. The kids are hilarious and fun, and they are just learning so much about themselves and other people. They are engaged and happy. For instance, we’re teaching them how to read and write for the first time, so the moment in January when we send books home stands out for me. They take their books home to share them with their parents, then come back the next day so proud that they could actually read the books. I love to see those “aha moments,” and there are so many for kids this age. 

How do you continue to grow as a teacher?

One of the amazing things about Country Day is all the professional development that we get to do and the support we get from Lower School administration to put what we learn about enhancing our teaching techniques into practice. This past year the kindergarten team went to an Institute for Multisensory Education training to learn more about the Orton-Gillingham approach. We all went in December and started using what we learned in the classroom in January. We’ve never had such good reading and writing scores, so we all are very excited about this approach to teaching reading.

"My kindergartners take their books home to share with their parents, then come back the next day so proud that they can actually read. I love to see those 'aha moments.'"