Ashley Chastant currently teaches fourth grade math at Lumberton Intermediate. Now in her tenth year of teaching, she says she knew even as a young child that she wanted to be a teacher. She still has papers from her preschool days that said she either wanted to be a teacher or a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader; luckily for her students she chose teaching.
Chastant recalls a teacher who left a lasting impression with her. Her fourth grade teacher, Ms. Miller made her classroom a place where students looked forward to going every day. “I just remember in her class we were always up out of our seats doing things,” said Chastant. She recalled that she was always ready to go to her class and enjoyed the fun projects. “I try to be that as a teacher. I want the kids to want to come to my class,” she said.
Chastant says that she tries to teach math in an interactive and enjoyable way. She usually tries to have partner or group activities. Surprisingly, math was not always her favorite subject. She said that when she became a teacher she realized that math can be fun. “I love that there’s not just one way to solve a problem. That part of it has always been fun for me. I love it now and can’t see myself teaching anything else,” said Chastant.
The most rewarding aspect of her teaching has been seeing students excel and make progress. Two years ago, she said that she had a student who came in with first grade math skills and progressed to almost fourth grade skills. “This is why we teach; to see kids learn and see that light bulb go on. It makes your year,” she said.
Chastant says she was shocked to learn she was selected as Teacher of the Year. “There are so many amazing teachers at this school; so many doing innovative and creative things,” she said.
Developing a good relationship with her students is important to Chastant. “My job is to be able to have a good enough relationship with them so they will come to me for help and try to get better.” When her students feel they can come to her with questions, she says that makes her feel good and that she is doing her job.