Best of Mesa 2014: Fourth-grade teacher finds perfect fit at CTK - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Best of Mesa 2014: Fourth-grade teacher finds perfect fit at CTK

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Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:10 pm

Long before Mary Ellen Thayer entered the classroom, she had a knack for explaining things to children. She first realized it as a summer camp counselor and swim teacher when she was a teenager herself, and that skill has translated into her teaching career at Christ the King Catholic School in Mesa.

Thayer began teaching at St. Gregory Catholic School in Phoenix in 1992 and spent seven years in Phoenix before shifting over to Christ the King in 1999. Her 22-year career teaching for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has featured time as a sixth-, first- and, currently, a fourth-grade teacher.

Teaching for so long in the same school has provided Thayer a means of keeping in touch with her beliefs while connecting with parents and siblings of the kids in her classroom.

“You get to practice your faith every day with these kids,” she said. “You become part of their family after you’ve done it for so long.”

Spending so much time within an educational family — particularly after 15 years at one school — has given Thayer strong ties with her co-workers as well, and she said the team effort put in by the teachers, principal and priest is nothing less than “awesome.”

A good working environment can translate well into the classroom, and that’s where Thayer can work with students to focus on their educational achievements and make them well-rounded people. The most rewarding moments, she said, are the times when the students are happy, smiling and having a good time. Those times tend to be infectious for this expert.

“To me it’s just fun. I enjoy my job and my calling to be a teacher,” she said.

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