HCS Changemaker: Mrs. Nicole Schroeder
Congratulations to Mrs. Nicole Schroeder, a first and fourth grade collaborative teacher at Providence Elementary School, who has been selected as this week’s HCS Changemaker!
Mrs. Schroeder says that teaching is a true calling. As a young girl, she always found herself teaching new things to her dolls. Later, she found that she had a great motivation to teach children to read, having majored in journalism for a portion of her college career. She then worked as a special needs support and was tasked to work with a young, pre-kindergarten boy who suffered from cerebral palsy. Her task was to teach him to hold a pencil, which seemed like it would be a rather tedious job at first. She says that she will never forget how the boy looked at her on one particular day, smiled, picked up his pencil, and made a mark on some paper. This seemingly small act was a giant success for the young student, and that gave Mrs. Schroeder all the drive she needed to get her teaching degree and certification.
“Often, we refer to her as the whisperer,” says Providence Principal Dr. Lynette Alexander, “she just has that mannerism and tone that is comforting to the students.” She adds that Mrs. Schroeder is great at engaging with students when they are experiencing an emotional outburst, saying that “she is usually able to help us redirect and get them back on track.” In the classroom, Mrs. Schroeder focuses on differentiated lessons that help build the social skills needed to succeed academically, but she also spends time meeting with various stakeholders to ensure that students’ various needs are met. She says, “you must be flexible, because every day is different.” She stays after school to help her students with difficult tasks or material and has even attended doctor appointments with parents. Student Mario Johnson says, “she’s nice, she’s caring, she’s wonderful!”
When she isn’t teaching, she loves to attend soccer games with her three girls. Mrs. Schroeder also enjoys shopping and finding new ways to decorate her home. She loves to read historical fiction but also enjoys authors like Stephen King. She says her favorite book of all time, though, is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Whatever she is doing, she says that she prefers to do it with her family. Sometimes that means just hanging out at home and watching Andy Griffith on television.
At the end of the day, Mrs. Schroeder wants every student to know that they matter in a world that doesn’t always let them know it. She wants them to realize that it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to learn from them and keep trying. She continues to show her students how to advocate for themselves and make their own mark, a lesson which is not unlike the one she taught a certain young Pre-K student years ago.