Coming back home, was something, “I just didn’t see happening,” admits Brielle Newman.
But home she is and working in a classroom one door down from the one she sat in as a student at H.C. Davis Elementary School years ago. She is not, however, the student any longer, but instead, is the new kindergarten teacher hired recently by the Cut Bank School system.
Brielle, who is the daughter of Debbie and the late Bill Newman, grew up in Cut Bank, graduating from Cut Bank High School in 2009.
“I was never sure what I wanted to do when I decided to go to college,” Brielle shared. “I knew I liked working with kids and did some of that while in school, but I never really gave any serious thought to becoming a teacher.”
Following high school graduation, Brielle started college in Great Falls and then finished by graduating from Montana State University in Bozeman in December. Once she started college and got her required classes behind her, Brielle started giving a teacher career some serious consideration.
“I decided I wanted to try teaching when I was in college and the more I got into it, the more I knew this was going to be what I wanted to do. And now, with every opportunity I have, I find myself falling more in love with teaching,” she declared.
She even knew the age group she would like to teach. “I am certified for kindergarten through eighth grade, but I love the younger kids and wanted to start with kindergarten through second grade, if I could,” she said. And as the new kindergarten teacher at H.C. Davis Elementary, that is exactly how it worked out.
Another surprise for Brielle was landing a job so soon after graduation. “I never dreamed there would be a position open this time of year. I was just going to sub and probably stay in the Bozeman area doing that for the remainder of the year and then start looking seriously for an open position,” she said.
Even though she wasn’t exactly “looking” for a job, Brielle confessed she had been checking the open positions that were available online. “When I saw the job in Cut Bank, I decided to apply and was absolutely thrilled when I got the job and got to start right away, in January.”
The Cut Bank School System found themselves in need of another kindergarten teacher thanks to the three current kindergarten classrooms having a higher than normal number of students. With the hiring of Brielle, 15 of those young students were shifted to her from the other three classrooms, allowing all the teachers to provide more one-on-one attention to a more realistic number of students.
“Most of the kids did really well in the classroom transition,” Brielle said. “They were all pretty excited to come in and are learning to adjust to the new teacher and new classroom.”
With only a few days under her belt, Brielle already has lesson plans rolling. “For the rest of the school year we are going to focus on getting the students starting to read and count, identifying sight words, enjoying some art activities and always allowing for playtime at the end of the day,” she said. “Even at this young age, we can start helping them with their social skills, too. This age is fun because everything is new and exciting for them and they are so enthusiastic to learn.”
It wasn’t all that long ago that Brielle was sitting behind one of those little desks in a classroom, learning how to read, write, add and subtract.
“It seems a little strange to be back here and see some familiar faces and know I used to call them Mrs. or Mr. when they were my teacher,” she said smiling. “Everyone has been so wonderful to me and they all have made my transition to being the new teacher coming in the middle of the year, very easy.”
What comes around goes around and in this case, Brielle coming back to teach in a school where she once was a student, is a good thing.
No, “a great thing,” she corrected.