Teacher of the Year, Facilitating a love for learning so students ‘do the thinking’
It wasn’t until Kathy Goodrich had children of her own that she realized how much she wanted to teach. So she returned to college in her 30s and earned a degree in education. Goodrich, who spent a year at Woodford County Middle School, began her 20th year at Southside Elementary in August and says she still loves coming to work every day. “Something about being able to facilitate their learning,” says Goodrich, “it’s just a joy for me. I am the facilitator, but they’re doing the learning. “The more I can facilitate a love for learning,” she continues, “… the better I am. … I might be tired and moan and groan going out of work, but I never, ever dread coming to work.” Goodrich likes teaching fifth-graders for numerous reasons. “They’re starting to think abstractly. They’re starting to get a really good sense of humor. … They’re starting to care about the world around them. They’re more open to new ideas and critical thinking. … It’s a remarkable age,” says Goodrich. Southside’s Teacher of the Year says she enjoys being around students who are eager to learn “because I’m eager to learn.” “So I ask questions just like they ask questions,” Goodrich explains. “I just want them to wonder – just love to learn.” One of her aims each day is teaching every student how to think it through, “and I’m going to wait until you do,” she says. “… You’re not going wait for somebody else to do the thinking.” Goodrich says she was “super-surprised,” when she was introduced as Southside’s Teacher of the Year because there are so many good educators in Woodford County. But if the recognition has anything to do with a teacher’s dedication to her students, then that’s something she brings to school every day, she acknowledges. “When it stops being a joy coming here,” Goodrich says, “it’s time for me to retire.” Besides being a classroom teacher, she coaches Southside’s academic team. Coaching feeds her competitive side, and “it’s just fun,” she says. Goodrich lives in south Woodford County with her husband of 37 years, Ray. They have three grown sons, Grant, Kyle and Chad – all Woodford County High School grads, and three grandchildren.