In the middle hallway of Woods Cross Elementary School, third grade teacher Pam Fahim stands at the head of Room #5 as students work on a math lesson about the partitioning a pie!
After 37 years of teaching everything from math, science, language-arts to information technology, the always dressed and ready, approachable and untiring Mrs. Fahim is finishing her final year of teaching and retiring this summer. She is excited to spend more time with family and especially her new grandson.
Her love of educating children goes beyond just teaching them in the classroom. If it wasn’t at school, it was at junior basketball, or directing youth soccer games or just visiting/listening to them. As the grim state of America’s public-education system remains one of the nation’s most pressing political issues; with teachers rightly or wrongly, often at the center of the debate, Mrs. Fahim has remained unfazed. She has always focused her attention not on the politics of public education but on the kids who’ve sat in the seats in front of her every school day.
“The parents come in and they sit in the same seats they sat in when they were students,” she said. She’s taught so many that a co-worker joked having a retirement party for her at a soccer stadium Field! She’s taught over 1100 children many of them children of former students. It’s most rewarding and pleasant for her running into at least one or two of them; whether it’s at grocery store or shoe shopping! Parent-teacher nights have become mini reunions.
For her, the key to running a classroom that’s about learning, not just discipline has been to listen to students and turn them into an active member of their community. “You have to work very hard to get to know the needs of students,” Mrs. Fahim exclaimed. “You never know when they walk through the door what their state of mind is!”