Get To Know Your Coronado Teacher: Katey Bouwman - Coronado Middle School - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Get To Know Your Coronado Teacher: Katey Bouwman - Coronado Middle School

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Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2019 3:38 pm

What ten-year-old kid wouldn’t love all things Disney, the sheer joy of it and abandon, and wouldn’t love to have a season pass? Katey Bouwman. Wait! Mrs. Bouwman, from Coronado Middle School? That’s right. She’s not a ten-year-old, but the rest of it is true. he loves all things Disney, has since her first visit at the age of four, and made her most recent visit this summer with her husband, mother-in-law, and 13-year-old niece.

Bouwman said she knew since January that she was going to have a vacation with her relatives. The issue came down to where to have that visit. Disney was the obvious place. “My niece is 13 now and she has been asked to take more responsibility for taking care of herself … I just wanted to give her a chance to be a kid.” What better place to do it than the one that advertises for guests to “come and enjoy the magic?”

One of the things that Bouwman said about just relaxing and having fun is that you never know where a person will find their greatest joy. For her niece, for instance, one of the best times was hanging out in the pool and just enjoying a slushy. And, she also added that it is good to try to roll with things as they come. For instance, hers and her husband’s flight back to California ended up being delayed a day and so they took the opportunity to go to a nice hotel and enjoy one last evening together, just the two of them. Albeit without their checked luggage!

But Bouwman isn’t all about fun and games. In fact, she seems to be a consummate planner. She said that she divided her summer into three sections: June, to be used for work and work-related activities; July, to be used solely for non-work activities, such as vacation and lounging on the beach; August, for working and planning.

For someone so organized, one might think that Bouwman’s teaching career had moved like clockwork. But Bouwman didn’t always know she wanted to a be a middle school teacher. She majored in history at college and eventually got married and made her way to Coronado. It was only after four years of substituting in the Coronado schools that she realized that she really wanted to be a teacher. After finishing her credential and a stint in administration, Bouwman began as a Humanities teacher and Technical Resource Teacher last year at Coronado Middle School (CMS). And, she said she absolutely loves it. Although we spoke in July, she was already looking forward to the fall, when she would have her first group of sixth graders for Triton Time – a section which functions as a student advisory. She said that this time is so important for students. It is a time that allows teachers to help students learn to get organized, for the students to get to know one another better, and it allows students a chance to get to know a teacher who isn’t necessarily judging them based on their work in a subject.

Not surprisingly for someone who speaks so passionately about teaching and about her students, Bouwman spent much of her time focused on her job. In fact, the first thing she said when I asked her how she had spent her summer was that she wanted to “learn more about being a better teacher.” To that end, she did some continuing education at the San Diego County Office of Education on the DBQ project – Document Based Questions. She said that she found the work fascinating in that it focused to a large extent on “who is doing the thinking in the classroom.” She said she spent a full eight hours learning how to do this sort of “truth finding” in the classroom.

For new sixth graders coming into CMS this year, and for their parents, Bouwman warned that “sixth grade is really hard.” It is a time, she said, when “they [the students] are really trying to figure out right from wrong,” and there is so much more that they have to begin navigating on their own. Not only do they literally have to go from classroom to classroom, but they are also for the first time in some mixed age classes and they might not have any classes with friends. Moreover, the academics become more challenging and the students have to really learn a bit about time management. She said, “We try to make sure it doesn’t happen, but it is possible they could have five homework assignments that are each twenty minutes long in a given evening.”

Bouwman added that sixth graders really “need to learn how to get feedback and use it to improve. They need to not think of feedback as a negative.” She said, “We want to see every student succeed, but success doesn’t look the same for every student … And students need to know that if we are strict with them, it doesn’t mean that we are mad at them.” She repeated, “Sixth grade is hard, but all of your teachers are there for you.”

Bouwman was looking toward August with anticipation. She had done the things that she wanted to do this summer and now, she said, she’s ready to go back to the classroom.

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