Nicole Wahl, kindergarten teacher at Kiva Elementary
How long have you been a teacher?
This is my 14th year teaching at Kiva Elementary School. I received my teaching position at Kiva right after I graduated from Arizona State University.
I LOVE this school and can’t imagine teaching anywhere else. Kiva is my family and my home.
Have you taught anything other than kindergarten?
When I started at Kiva, I taught first-grade for three years. I loved this grade level for so many reasons. Because of budget cuts, my position was eliminated. At the time I had to decide if I wanted to move to a different school to teach first-grade or move to kindergarten at Kiva. I chose to stay.
How does it feel to be nominated?
I feel so honored. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that my students and their parents appreciate me and what I do every day. Teaching can be tough and sometimes lonely. Knowing that I am making a difference in my students’ lives makes it all worth it.
Were you surprised to see your former students and their parents at the Teachers We Love presentation?
I was definitely shocked to see so many of my former parents coming into my classroom! I had no idea what was going on, I thought they were just popping in to say hi. When they asked me to stand in front of my class, I knew something special was happening. When the former parents’ nominations were read, I burst into tears. Their powerful and kind words truly touched my heart.
What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
I love opening my door in the morning to such eager learners. My students are excited to learn something new each day and it makes teaching so enjoyable. It’s amazing each and every year how much my students learn and grow. They begin kindergarten as very young and dependent children, and grow into responsible, independent and self-thinking learners.
I love watching my students go from learning a simple task, like tying their shoes, to much larger skills like reading and writing.
Did you always want to become a teacher?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher after my first day of preschool when I was 4 years old. From that day on, I played school at home with my dolls and stuffed animals. If I ever had a chance to volunteer in a classroom at a young age, I did. One of my most memorable days in school was when I was accepted into to the College of Education at ASU. I was so excited to begin my career as an educator.
What is the best part about teaching kindergarten?
The best part is the huge transformation my students make in 10 short months.
They grow from knowing a few letters to walking out of my classroom reading books.
What I truly love about teaching kindergarten is watching my students learn to listen and care when their friends are speaking. My students learn to be kind, share, include others and always try their best. My students are the leaders of tomorrow, and I want them to have a growth mindset when they are faced with difficult tasks and decisions.
What is your favorite part of our neighborhood?
I love the community and the old Phoenix charm. I am also a big hiker, and fortunate that we have the beautiful preserve in our backyard. This is such an amazing place to live and I can’t imagine ever leaving.