SONIC’s September Teacher of the Month is Alyssa Frohnhoefer who teaches Grade 5 Special Education at Wyandanch Union Free School District in Babylon, New York.
Ms. Frohnhoefer – who is also a former SONIC Carhop! – reflects on her love for teaching that developed when she was young, and her desire to foster a love for forever learning in each of her students. She explains how her funded DonorsChoose projects have improved her classroom by helping address the individual needs of each child.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to make a difference and have an impact on the children who needed it most. I’ve always been familiar with special education and saw at a young age the impact a teacher can have to change a child’s path forever. I wanted to have the opportunity to impact many children and help them foster a love for forever learning.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I really love seeing growth inside of students and their “a-ha” moments when they master a new skill.
What advice do you have for fellow educators?
My favorite part of the job goes far beyond academics — it’s the personal relationship I have with each and every one of my students. I truly believe that before a child can learn, relationships need to be fostered.
If you could give any advice to yourself as a first-year teacher, what would it be?
I would not to be too hard on myself. Learning how to teach is similar to learning how to drive a car: you learn everything as you do it, just as if you’re behind the wheel. Learning doesn’t stop after year one, and most of the time, your most challenging students are the ones who need the most love. Those are the students who will come visit you year after year and be the ones you will never forget.
What’s something a mentor has taught you in your teaching career?
Something I admired from a co-teacher at the first school I worked was her ability to adapt. She was always willing to try new things, even during at her very last year. This taught me to stay open minded, willing to adapt and be flexible.
What is your favorite project that has received funding from SONIC Drive-In?
My favorite project was my flexible seating project because it truly helps meet individual needs in the classroom, allows for movement and gives students the opportunities to get their wiggles out. Before I became a teacher, I worked for SONIC for 4 years, so this is extra special to me.
What tips do you have for fellow educators who want to upload a project on DonorsChoose for the first time?
No project is too small, and none are too big. There are always funding opportunities, and I prefer to think outside the box and break up my projects into smaller ones for a larger chance to get funded. A tip for staying inspired on the hard days is to think about your reasons why you became a teacher. I often think about the little girl who dreamed about being where I am today.
To learn more about Limeades for Learning, discover our other teachers of the month.