Meet a New Teacher

Rachel Peterson, Kindergarten Teaching Fellow

Rachel Peterson earned her BA in Philosophy from Appalachian State University. Most recently, she was a bilingual literacy tutor with AmeriCorps Literacy First, here in Austin. She learned about Trinity when she applied to be part of the Horizons faculty for this summer before the program went online in response to Covid-19. The Horizons team introduced Rachel to our Fellows Program and she was assigned to work with Jordan Williams on the Kindergarten team, as Jordan had interviewed Rachel for the Horizons program. Jordan has taught both first grade and fourth grade at Trinity and will be a strong mentor for Rachel during her first year with us.

Q: Describe yourself in three words.

A: Courageous, Tenderhearted, Vibrant.

Q: What inspired you to teach?

A: A 1st grade teacher who went out of her way to show me love and support as a child. The desire to support our youth by helping them realize their inherent worth and beauty - hoping to cultivate a deep sense of self-compassion and an interconnectedness in our kiddos. And finally believing in myself.

Q: Do you have a favorite lesson you teach? Tell us about it. 

A: This is my first year really teaching! I was a bilingual literacy tutor before. However, I am also a yoga instructor. Incorporating those skills last year, I really enjoyed watching the children become articulate in their needs and working with overcoming obstacles through learning with movement, smiles, and awareness.

Q: Why Trinity? 

A: Trinity is a community that fosters a sense of home and truly enriches our children. I am excited about the creative freedom and intentional learning that will happen. 

Q: What was your biggest learning moment last spring and teaching online?

A: It is less important to get the lesson perfect. The important thing is to connect with the child and family to be a line of support and offer an opportunity to learn in untraditional ways. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to as the fall semester starts?

A: I’m excited to work with Jordan Williams. I’ve seen her thoughtfulness, and I can imagine it will help me grow in ways I can’t even fathom. I’m also really looking forward to reading the stories I picked out for my kindercuties. Lots of beautiful messages interwoven through storytime!

Q: What advice do you have for parents as they navigate how different school might look in the fall?

A: Embrace the messiness! If you are a perfectionist, try to set that aside. I fall between the two camps of “everything happens for a reason” and “randomness happens to us all,” but I would say TRUST. We are here at this moment, and it will be challenging, but we are here with each other.  (This is also a reminder to myself!)

Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge young children face today?

A: I want to preface this with I believe that children need to be children and enjoy youth-play, laughing, and being silly! However, children face a multitude of challenges every single day in many different ways. Backgrounds vary, so these challenges are not the same across the board always. Children are coming into a world that is facing rapid climate change, social injustices, and economic uncertainty. I think this requires children to have emotional and social intelligence, which allows them to address and cope with these fears and worries and develop a sense of community with their peers.

Q: How do you motivate your students?

A: Positive remarks that are specific and observant. I think modeling behavior that allows for mistakes and a growth/fluid mindset also motivates. As well as a small dance party or stretch break :)

Q: What motivates you?

A: LOVE!

Q: Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or philosophy you teach by?

A: Show up. Be your best self. Know that best fluctuates. Know that everyone is showing up as their best self at that moment.

Q: What would be the soundtrack to your classroom?

A: Human Nature & Peace like a River - Beautiful Chorus

Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield 

Best Day of My Life - American Author

Firework & Roar - Katy Perry

Put Your Records on - Corinne Bailey Rae

Q: What do you love doing in your spare time?

A: Gardening, baking, dancing, writing, spending time with my family, painting, connecting with the community, playing outside, and many, many more things. (I am a woman of many hobbies!)

Q: What's the last book you read?

A: "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb - SO GOOD. Everyone should read it!

Q: What is your degree and from what school?

A: I have a BA in Philosophy and a minor in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I am also currently pursuing a Masters of Education in Urban Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.