Labor Day is fast approaching and that means Arlington’s children are getting ready to return to school after their summer breaks. Along with the children, teachers are also getting ready to return to classrooms and pick up where they left off in June.
One of those teachers is Judith Kendall, a 3rd grade teacher at Randolph Elementary School. In an interview with the Arlington Connection, Kendall spoke of why she loves teaching in Arlington, what she wishes she had done when she first started teaching and what teachers are really up to during summer.
Arlington Connection: Many people assume that teachers get to take the summer off. Is this the case? What do teachers really do during the summer?
Judith Kendall: Some teachers use this time to enjoy some much-needed rest. Others take graduate-level coursework, participate in unique education-related experiences or attend professional development workshops. And a large number of teachers spend their summer teaching in summer school and summer enrichment programs.
AC: What is your favorite subject to teach to your students?
JK: One of my favorite subjects to teach is social studies because it really speaks to the human condition. Students get a deeper understanding of who they are and how they can make a difference in society.
AC: What do you most like about teaching in Arlington? Is there anything you would like to see changed in Arlington that would make your job easier?
JK: I like the fact that Arlington has so many academic and cultural resources for teachers to take advantage of with their students.
AC: You’ve been at Randolph for 15 years. How has it changed since you started there?
JK: The biggest change I’ve noticed at Randolph is that there is now ongoing communication and collaboration among the teachers and staff.
AC: What was your first year of teaching like? Is there anything you wish you had done differently when you first started?
JK: My first year of teaching, in Pennsylvania, was pretty stressful. I didn’t have a mentor teacher, the parents kept popping in my room to observe me since I was a beginning teacher, and I constantly doubted myself. The one thing I wish I had done differently was to ask questions — lots of them. You won’t learn if you don’t ask.
AC: Do you live in Arlington? What brought you here?
JK: I have lived in Arlington for 19 years. I moved here from Philadelphia when I married my husband.
AC: What is your favorite restaurant in Arlington?
JK: My favorite restaurant in Arlington is El Pollo Rico near George Mason University’s Arlington campus. The chicken smells so good and is absolutely scrumptious!
AC: What is one book you think everyone should read?
JK: "Crucial Conversations" by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler. This book gives the reader specific strategies for opening lines of communication in difficult situations.
AC: If you could take a road trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
JK: I would love to travel to Rome, to tour the city and see the ancient ruins and historical sites. This would be a fabulous experience for me.
AC: What is one aspect of Arlington that you would like to see changed?
JK: I would like to see more affordable housing for the families of our students and county employees. Several of our parents move further out, to areas like Woodbridge, in order to be able to purchase a home, and many teachers have difficulty handling Arlington’s high cost of living.