Full Name: Amie Belcher
Favorite Quote: There are so many of them!
“Teachers who Love Teaching, Teach Children to Love Learning!” -Robert John Meehan
Who are you and what do you do?
I am the mother of an 18-year-old daughter who will graduate high school this spring. Everything I have ever done in life has always revolved around her.
I began my college career at the age of 32, in the fall of 2013, and graduated with highest honors in December 2017, obtaining my degree in ECE/CD. I began my teaching career as a student employee for the college I attended, Illinois Central College, at the on-campus Children’s Center, and eventually became a permanent part-time teacher there. After about 1.5 years as a part-time teacher, I have accepted a full-time teaching offer there. I have been with the 2’s & 3’s preschool children for most of my time at the center, but have much experience in the 2 other classrooms with 4’s & 5’s pre-K, and a mixed ages hourly room, which is mostly utilized by the college students who need only partial-day care while attending one or two classes during the day.
I love teaching! I also LOVE learning and am a lifelong learner. I hope that I can pass my love of learning to the children as well by engaging in learning opportunities with them through experiences which are relevant to them and which they enjoy! I believe this is best achieved through a combination of nurturing social-emotional development and solid intentional engagement during PLAY!
I have always worked in restaurants since the age of 16. With taking on the role as a full-time teacher I have swapped out my 40-hour a weekend restaurant job as a kitchen supervisor (had to have health insurance) at TGI Fridays, and now only working part-time there. Yes, for the past 3 years I have worked 60-70 hours a week and will now enjoy my 50-60-hour work weeks!
How long have you been in the field?
Officially employed in the field for 3 years. Have experience with children of all ages throughout my whole life, as my mother had an unofficial daycare in our home for most of my childhood and teen years, and I babysat many children for multiple families as a teenager. I also volunteered for several years in a first-grade classroom at a local public school for which my sister teaches at.
I completed my Student Teaching at the ICC Children’s Center for which I am currently employed. I also utilized this center for all my observation and coursework requirements for my degree and even volunteered some extra time here.
Why did you join Illinois AEYC?
I joined ILAEYC at first just for my employment, but have enjoyed all the social events, conferences, and most of all, networking with other ECE professionals! It is always great to be able to decompress and reflect together as professionals, even if we have never previously met, because we are all in this ECE journey together!
How long have you been a member?
I will have been a member for 3 years this coming February.
What are some professional accomplishments that you are proud of?
I do not prefer to gloat on myself as I am humble, however, I have accomplished some things which I reflect upon and really “wow” myself. 1) I graduated college a year ago with highest honors, something I never ever imagined possible given 10 years ago I never would have even though of attending college. 2) I have been hired and promoted multiple times by the college in which I completed my student teaching. First as a student employee, second as a permanent part-time teacher, and third as a full-time teacher. 3) Within my classroom I can provide a safe, nurturing, and stable environment for not only all children to grow, but also for a child who desperately needs this stability as we know they have experienced and witnessed trauma. Within these past 9 months with this 3-year-old, we have worked diligently with the EC behavior consultant and the family counselor to turn this young child’s life, at least at school, from uncertainty and distrust towards a more consistent and stable place of hope. We have seen this child develop from violence towards others into a loving and caring person who now shows concern for others and even offers compassion and kindness. This has been a slow progression and there have been many setbacks and regressions, but there is steady positive progress in this journey!
What is your favorite Illinois AEYC Memory?
Honestly, I do not really have favorites with anything in life as it is constantly changing and ever evolving with adding new experiences. What I have enjoyed most is the conferences and workshops where I get to meet ECE professionals other than those I work with. This provides for great networking as well as self-reflection opportunities!
What NAEYC Benefit do you most value?
The HELLO blogs! I know it seems silly, but just reading them puts my mind at ease to know that we are all going through the same stresses and trials within this profession. I really hope that I may be of assistance to someone who has questions. I also like to read everyone’s thoughts and opinions on different topics and read all of the “feel-good” stories!
What is your favorite Children’s book and why?
Again, SO many! I like to read different children’s books for a variety of different reasons. Some books I like to read to the children because I like to do the different voices, such as Sesame Street books. Other books I like because I enjoyed them as a child myself, and others because I enjoyed reading them to my daughter when she was a little girl. There are other books I enjoy reading such as the Magic Tree House collection because they are genuinely interesting to me! Then there are some books I enjoy reading because they are comical for not only the children, but to me as well, such as the Pigeon books by Mo Willems and books by Doreen Cronin. Some books are just great to read because of the message and kindness they portray such as Jacqueline Woodson’s The Other Side or Matt de la Pena’s Last Stop on Market Street. There really are too many great ones to narrow them down to even a top 10!!!
Family, Hobbies, etc.?
I am the mother of an 18-year-old daughter, and I have been with my husband for 16 years. We like to go for bike rides on the bike trail and long walks in our neighborhood. We also grow a small garden every year and hope to one day have time to do some of our own canning. I love to cook and bake as well as make a variety of different crafts, especially to give for gifts! I love to paint and make pottery. My sister, my daughter, and I love to paint and enjoy attending the special event paint nights around town.