“I didn’t choose teaching,” Kelly Tapia said. “It chose me.”
Tapia spent the first 10 years of her career in education as an adjunct professor of History and Humanities at the University of Central Oklahoma and Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Since 2010, Tapia has taught within Woodward Public Schools and currently teaches eighth grade US History-colonization to 1877, as well as Gifted and Talented (GATES) classes to seventh and eighth graders at Woodward Middle School.
Although Tapia did not set out to become a lifelong educator -today- she would not have it any other way.
“When I landed here I realized I was exactly where I was supposed to be. My students are sometimes surprised to learn I never intended to be a teacher, and yet they ask me what I would do if I could have any job in the world. I can honestly tell them that I am doing it,” Tapia said.
Tapia credits the Woodward community and administration for making her job so rewarding.
“I consider Woodward to be one of the best districts to work for in the state,” she said. “Our administration from our Superintendent to my building principals are supportive and they trust each of us to do our jobs. I have always been treated with respect not only as a person but as a teacher.”
In Tapia’s classroom, she enjoys seeing her students use their critical thinking skills and partake in thought provoking discussions. Tapia’s classes cover a wide range of topics and she includes many fun activities to get her students actively involved.
“In history the students recreate ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’ photo and they write and direct music videos over Lewis and Clark or the War of 1812,” Tapia said. “I think some of my favorite days with the kids are just the ordinary days when we discuss and debate history.”
For Tapia, the most important and practical skill she can teach her students is the ability to think for themselves and cite primary sources to support their ideas.
“This particular skill teaches them about perspective, bias, checking sources and looking at all the evidence then making a judgment based on their learnings,” she said. “This skill can be applied to historical subjects as well as current events. My goal is to give them the ability to become productive citizens.”