Teaching is a career that tends to run in families, and that rings true for Pat Hiatt and her daughter, Sarah Wild. In addition to both being teachers, they now have the honor of saying they are both National Board Certified teachers.
Hiatt, who had driven a school bus since her junior year in high school, decided to move into the classroom after Benny Martin, principal at the former Beulah School, offered her a teaching assistant job, and she served in that role for nine years in Surry County Schools. At that point, she chose to go back to school through the Gardner-Webb University gold program at Surry Community College.
The Mount Airy resident graduated in 1991 with her K-6 teaching degree and has taught in Carroll County, Va., in Surry County at Flat Rock Elementary School, in Stokes County, and where she now teaches, at CB Eller Elementary School in Wilkes County.
She taught prekindergarten at CB Eller when it opened in 2004, and has since gone back to school to get her Birth-K degree from Salem College. This year, she is teaching third grade after teaching kindergarten and second grade for several years.
“I moved up to third, and was able to keep my class from last year,” Hiatt said, explaining that was a special request by her to keep her same students she taught in second grade. “I know the kids and the parents. Third is such a transition year from moving to primary to growing up and being more responsible and independent.”
The National Board Certification process is really a three-year process, Hiatt said. “It is a lot of hard work.”
Wild said most teachers put an average of 200 to 400 hours of work into the certification requirements, which include a lot of self-reflection, videoing oneself teaching in the classroom, creating a portfolio and more.
In 2006, Hiatt received her certification as a National Board teacher. “After going through that process in 2006, I started encouraging her,” Hiatt said of her daughter. “It is reflecting on your teaching style, teaching instruction and what the kids are learning. I encouraged her because of the benefits to her personally as well as the education to her students.”
Wild, also a Mount Airy resident, graduated from Lees-McRae College in 2000 and received a master’s in special education K-12 from Western Carolina University. She has worked in Wilkes County and Stokes County after starting out at Central Middle School. She is now in her third year as a special education inclusion teacher at Meadowview Middle School.
“I tell the kids it means to make sure kids are included in class,” Wild said of her title at Meadowview. “I go in and help the regular teacher, and if the students need extra help, I can pull them out individually or as a group.
“When I taught in regular education, I found myself wanting to help the kids that needed extra help, so I went back to get my master’s,” she said.
Wild said she always knew she was going to be a teacher. “A lot had to do with watching her growing up,” she said of her mother. “She was a good role model growing up. She said I used to teach my stuffed animals before I could even talk.”
“I really always liked working with younger children, and as the second of seven kids, I liked helping the younger ones with their school work,” Hiatt said of why she chose to teach.
“I went to Surry Community College in the library science program for a year, and then they canceled it due to low interest,” Hiatt explained of her time prior to being an assistant. “And I didn’t want to go off to school at the time.”
As Wild was growing up, Hiatt said she and her daughter “played” school.
In November Wild was informed that she was National Board Certified as well.
“I encouraged a lot of my teachers at my school and other schools to do it. I encourage anyone to do that. I think it’s important to mentor others,” Hiatt said of helping her daughter through the process.
As a teacher at CB Eller, Hiatt said one of her favorite things she’s done has been involve her class in a correspondence program with a school in Pueblo, Mexico.
“They sent a Teddy bear and travel journal from Mexico, and our kids would take home the bear and journal about what they were doing and eating. We Skyped with them and at the end of the year, they sent the bear we sent to them back here and we sent the one we got down there,” Haitt explained. “It was a good opportunity for them to learn about them and them about us. It’s been one of the things I’ve really enjoyed doing, and I got to communicate with their teachers as well.”
One of the highlights of the correspondence was when Hiatt’s son, Charles, traveled to Mexico with his now-wife for Christmas with her family. The students in her class were able to watch his return flight home and track it online.
Another project Hiatt has enjoyed is refurbishing an abandoned garden with her third-graders, who dug the weeds out, got plants donated and planted the seeds.
For Wild, working with multimedia projects is fascinating. “Some of them (her students) are teaching me. They create their own web pages and do a lot on the computer,” she said, noting that all of the students at Meadowview have laptops. “Just watching how much more the students learn interacting with the technology and the things they come up with,” is what she enjoys most about the technology available, including Smart Boards and document cameras.
“I really enjoy individual conferencing with the kids and talking to them about the books they picked out,” she said.
Outside of the realm of school, Hiatt is a member of the Sugarloaf Mountain Band, which will have its second CD released in coming days. And music runs in the family as does teaching, Wild sings and plays the piano.
She said she also enjoys camping, reading and spending time with family and friends, which include Wild and her husband Byron and son Stephen, as well as Hiatt’s son, Charles, wife Nayeli and grandson Pedro, and her second daughter, Philicia and husband Robert Marion.
“My inspiration and encouragement are my parents, Charlie and Shirley Hawks. They really encouraged me growing up,” Hiatt said. “I do consider faith and inspiration a big part of our lives through Pine Ridge Mission.”
Wild, who attends Disciples of Christ Tabernacle in Galax, Va., said her father, Phillip Hiatt, and both sets of her grandparents, including Mason and Helen Hiatt, have been very supportive in her life.
One of Wild’s hobbies has been jogging with her father. They have entered more than 100 5K events in the last couple of years.
Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1923.