News & Stories
Amber Bingham
April 18, 2023

Making a Difference in the Lives of the Youngest Students

Since third grade, Amber Bingham ’23 was determined to become a teacher and knew Berry was her next stop after high school. “I chose Berry for the education program,” she says. “Berry stood out because of the hands-on involvement in the classroom, and I knew I wanted to work with students before jumping into teaching.”

Combining student teaching and fieldwork over four years, Amber accumulated 600+ hours of experience and secured her first job four months before graduation. She accepted a position to teach first grade at West End Elementary School in Rome where she did her student teaching.

As a first-year student, she put her career goal to the test, spending time with 3- and 4-year-old students at the South Rome Early Learning Center. “I loved being able to work with them, talk to them and see all the new things they were learning,” she notes. “The center taught me that working with the younger students is where my heart is, and I excel with them.”

A commitment to teaching — “making a difference” — in high-need schools is a driving force. “It can be so rewarding to see the joy on your students’ faces when they see someone support and show up for them every day,” Amber says. “I know that the students in these environments deserve the same love and respect as any other student. I want to be one of the people who roots for them and teaches them new things. … You must be dedicated to your students and be willing to go the extra mile.”

Amber says the wealth of classroom experiences and training by mentors shaped her teaching style. “I lean more toward hands-on learning and activities,” she explains. “I love being able to do these with the students because I think it helps the information stick.”

She adds that “phenomenal mentors” demonstrated best practices: “They allowed me to work in small groups. I interacted with students while doing small group lessons — like seeing if they knew their letters, working with math manipulatives and identifying their names.”

Despite a demanding teaching schedule, Amber formed deep friendships in college — especially with elementary education majors and as captain of the Vikettes, Berry’s dance team: “Both groups are amazing women who work really hard at what they do, which always pushes me to also work hard and not give up. I have grown academically and mentally from being at Berry, and that is thanks to my community and support systems.”

She adds that Berry’s tight-knit environment gave her the space to express creativity, empathy and motivation — ideal qualities for a teacher. “I loved being able to design and create new things,” she says. “Empathy is something that sets the framework for many things that I do. I want to take into consideration other people’s feelings and put myself in someone else’s shoes before I just assume. … I am self-motivated, and I am always looking for what I am going to do next.”

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