Mrs. Swager, Paraprofessional
Meet Mrs. Swager
1. What role do you have here at C-S Elementary and how long have you been here?
My name is Amy Swager, I am a paraprofessional in the Young Fives classroom this year. I began my professional career here three years ago as a special education paraprofessional working with special needs kids. Before that, I volunteered here in a number of capacities: PTA, MiBLSI Team, Reading Improvement Team, literacy tutor, etc. I have been here since October 2009. As a parapro, I teach appropriate social behavior, problem-solving, numbers, letters, phonics, colors, healthy food choices, decision making, and the big word “biohazards” as it applies to coughing, sneezing, or hand washing. I help provide an environment of love and respect where the students feel safe and can learn to be responsible for their own needs.
2. Why did you decide to work with students in education?
Well, I gave birth to 7 children, and so I figured as long as I was raising my own, what’s 15 or 20 more? Just kidding. I love children. They really are the best kind of people. You know exactly where you stand with them. I love seeing the moment when they discover some new exciting fact. It is the best day in a kid’s life when they discover that they, themselves, are readers! As a mother, witnessing their discoveries is one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about raising my kids, and I’m very blessed to be able to enjoy it with the amazing kids in our district.
3. What makes you come to work every day?
I’d like to say the kids need me, but the truth is I need them. I need to feel needed and productive. I have invested 24 years into raising my own children (and I’m STILL not done), and this is what I’m good at. My kids all know how to read, but I have so much experience in teaching them that I hate to waste it. I like hearing their stories, and listening to their jokes. I enjoy being there for them when things are tough. I am there when they are embarrassed or hurt and need someone to understand and find the right words to fix things. My job helps me make the world a better place…even if it’s only for one kid for one day.
4. Can you name 2-3 fun educational activities you do with your students throughout the year?
I like taking the Young Fivers on letter hunts around the hallways. We learn one or two letters per week, and they get so excited when they see their new letter on a wall somewhere! I also enjoy helping the students whose bodies move a little too fast check the bricks around the hallway to see if any are loose. We just walk up and down the hallway and push really hard on our chosen bricks. It sounds odd, but they burn off their extra energy pushing, and it makes it easier to focus in class. I also like teaching the kids to walk in the hallway by singing the “Walking Feet” song very quietly. (Walking Feet, Walking Feet, Walking down the hall or street, we’ve got Walking Feet, OH Yeah, Walking Feet, OH yeah…)
5. Would you like to share any personal information about your own family or your own hobbies?
I’m happily married to Luke Swager, and we have 7 children. Jordan and Spencer are grown, Isaac, Lydia and Harriett are in the Jr./Sr. High and Simon and Sylvia are in the Elementary. I have 2 grandkids that live in Alabama with Jordan and his wife Misty. Since my cardiac arrest in December of 2008, I have become active in bringing heart health information to any group that will listen. I am currently a Support Network Coordinator for WomenHeart of Greater Kalamazoo, a support group for women living with heart disease. I am active in youth ministry at St. Martin of Tours Church in Vicksburg. I also enjoy writing, and have been published in Catechist magazine, and in the Good News, the newspaper of the diocese of Kalamazoo. I hope to have a children’s book published one day…if I get time.