Darnaby Elementary – Kim Kiker, Art
Art teacher Kim Kiker has been named the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year for Darnaby Elementary School.
Being a teacher is just something that Kiker knew she wanted to do even as a young child.
“As an elementary student, I remember envying my librarian and her ability to ensnare us with a book,” Kiker said. “I recall an art project in fifth grade and how I was more excited to teach someone else how to complete the project than I was to share my completed project. I recollect having to complete a process essay in third grade and relishing in presenting and teaching the class my project, making a candy wreath. I have always enjoyed the act of teaching. It simply is fun to me.
“And then there are the kids. They are honest, eager, open-minded, and entertaining. Their smiles, stories, and simple joys are refreshing and inspiring. They keep you on your toes, constantly adapting, constantly guessing, and energized. There is not another group of individuals for whom I would rather work.”
Kiker said, “Teaching during a pandemic is honestly something I could have never guessed that I would be doing. While things are definitely different this year, I would not say that it has been bad. Challenging but not bad. The students that came back in-person were eager to be back and that was uplifting. They wanted to see their teachers as much as we wanted to see their precious faces. Teaching demands you to be adaptable.
“While teaching students how to wear masks and stay socially distanced can be challenging, smaller class sizes have allowed room to do just that. Teaching both in-person students while also teaching virtual students has been a challenge as well. However, the challenge of teaching virtual students has led to growth for me as a teacher. I have learned how to use several computer programs that I am excited to use in my classroom. The major differences lie in procedures. Outside of procedures, our kids are still the same kids before the pandemic. Teaching students still comes down to engaging them and getting them to buy into what you are teaching. They are eager and ready to learn.”
Kiker started teaching for Union in 2002 at Roy Clark Elementary as a fourth grade teacher.
Kiker graduated from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah with a bachelor’s in Elementary Education. She later went on to get her certification in early childhood.