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My Story

Like so many of my colleagues, I realized at an early age that working with children just brings joy to my life. My first experience was becoming a big sister to twin boys when I was 11. I became a bit of a second mama, helping them with school work, babysitting, and as I got older, taking them on adventures. I also, like many teenagers, made most of my money babysitting in my neighborhood. I realized early on that no matter what I was doing, it was much more fun if I was sharing the experience with a child.

When I began my education at California State University Northridge, my intent was to receive a degree in psychology and proceed to a Master’s program to eventually become a school counselor.  During my years in school, I married my childhood sweetheart, Mike, and after receiving my degree, we decided to move to the Antelope Valley and start a family. A few years later, we had two children, Barbara and Michael. I truly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, but the need for additional income lead me on a job search. Searching through the classifieds, I found an employment opportunity as a substitute teacher. I was curious, but nervous. I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d be good at, but the work was part-time, decent pay, and best of all, I’d be working with kids. So, I went for it!

It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was “a teacher’s life for me!” There just can’t be any better way to spend your day than being with kids. I was determined to go back to school to get my credential. So, as my youngest entered kindergarten, we moved back to Newbury Park and I returned to CSUN.

After finishing the credential program, I soon found a job at Katherine Elementary School. It was after I was hired that I learned that I would be teaching 6th grade. I was terrified. As a substitute teacher for many years, I knew 6th graders could be treacherous! But, I needed the job, and figured I would eventually find my way to a lower grade. That was 18 years ago.

Since then, I have been, and will hopefully continue to be a 6th grade teacher. I work with the most fantastic people on earth. They are fun, curious, faithful, honest and interesting. I can joke with them, talk with them, argue with them and share stories with them. Together with my colleague and dear friend Ann, we have put together what I think is an amazing 6th grade experience. We are departmentalized, so we are able to give our students a taste of a middle school experience while in the gentler environment of an elementary school campus. I am the math and science teacher, and I absolutely love teaching math. Ironically, I have always loved math, but it was never easy for me as a student. I think that being the case, it has made me more aware of the need to focus more on attitude than aptitude.

This realization was never more apparent than after my third child Jeffrey was born. Unlike his older siblings, school has been a tremendous struggle for Jeffrey. But experiencing his struggles has humbled me as a parent and enlightened me as an educator. My hopes for him each school year have become my mission for all of my students.

I want my students to love being at school. I want them to be excited to arrive each morning, expecting a good day. I want them to laugh-a lot! I want them to think critically. I want them to recognize setbacks as opportunities to grow. I want them to persevere and take risks without fear of ridicule, and to push their peers to do the same. I want to challenge them to accept challenges. I want them to maintain a love for learning. I want to send them into the next year with proficient academic skills of course, but also with enthusiasm for learning, the confidence to try, the perseverance to try again and the determination to succeed.

Marcy Knudson