My mom signed me up for a singing class this summer.
Why do you like to sing?
Because it makes me feel like who I really am.
Do you have a favorite song?
“Welcome to New York.”
The subject I like most in school is probably social studies or science. I really like social studies because it’s interesting to learn about what previously happened. It always feels nice learning about something that happened because it fills you with that feeling like, I just learned something new. They say history repeats itself so if that’s true, then it may happen again. I like science because it’s really fun to learn about things we wouldn’t talk about casually. Like you wouldn’t casually talk about how light works or how sound works. It’s really interesting getting to learn about all the stuff around us because science – light, sounds, states of matter – it’s all around us. It’s real interesting learning about it and it can help you see things in a new way.
And you were talking about interests after school… I wouldn’t really consider this an interest but I do enjoy the consumption of caffeine. Well, I really like coffee. It will wake you up and it has a pretty good taste. It allows me to do my homework because without it, it’s hard to do anything without it really.
I want to work at the aquarium because my favorite animal is a dolphin and I really want to get more information about other sea animals. Dolphins are highly intelligent and sometimes I watch this dolphin on YouTube.
I actually have two jobs I want to do. My other job is being a track player because I’m in a ladies track group. I’m one of the best ones. I’m team captain. I’m working up to be in the Olympics.
Short or long distance?
I don’t know because I’m really good at both of them. I’m fast and I’m long lasting. Sometimes I go slow when I do long lasting, and then I can go really fast.
One of my favorite jobs in the whole world is what I call being a servant leader. It basically means you find an incredible, creative, fabulous group of people; you cast a BIG vision−and little did we realize how big a vision ‘The Lion King’ was going to be−and then you set them free to do what they do best. What you’re going to see tonight would not have happened without all of these people.
I was in the Army eight years with the engineering branch building permanent construction all over the world: Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, South America. Roads, bridges, airfields, buildings—we had all the components of construction to do it. I went to VMI which had a military obligation after graduation. I had a three-year active, five-year reserve obligation. I did all eight years active because I was enjoying it and got out when we started to have kids. I got out as a captain. I decided to come back home and worked for a general contractor as a project manager. I’ve been with the division, it’s going on 17 years. I just like helping people and being part of that support piece that helps take care of the kids and gives them what they need to be successful. My mission is to support the principals. It’s what I like to do.
I’m Nurse G. I’m Doctor G, at times. And some call me Miss Wendi. I answer to it all.
This is my fourth year full-time. I love it here. The kids are what make my day. Their little smiles after you “treat” them. Some of these kids just need a little extra T.L.C. Sometimes they need, I’ll call it, “a brain break.” I love that you can spend the five minutes with them and sometimes they’re just having a really bad day – maybe dad’s deployed or mom’s deployed or traveling.
I also like the fact that at this age you’re molding them and teaching them. You’re teaching them how to own responsibility for themselves. You see the kids grow up and become young adults; we’ll use that loosely at this age because they are still pretty young. But I think it’s neat to see how they grow up and to see the neediness change and maturity slowly develop.
I love my day. It’s a different pace, but there are its challenges every day. You have a lot of health concerns in a school that keep you on your toes because you never know when something’s going to happen. It’s rewarding at the end of the day seeing these kids smile and to share the love and the care and the compassion.
It’s a wonderful job.
Report card for Mrs. Baxter
Being the best teacher: A+
Helping me out: A+
Being nice: A+
Understanding me: A+
Knowing what I like: A+
Letting me have fun: A+
Making it easy to love you: A+
Being lovable: A
Loving me: A+
Being good at everything: A+
Good job. Keep it up.
I like having brain breaks and doing centers. There are iPads and there is this really cool time game I like playing where, if you get five stars, you get a prize to do the fish tank. In the beginning you get tap the fish that you want and you try to get all 50 fish. You have to make the time. We have four telling time games on the iPad.
Why do you think it’s important to give your brain a break?
So it can take a rest.
And when I get home for the weekend, I like to play with my friends outside. I also like to go on my tablet and play Angry Birds and watch videos. I like to watch shows on Netflix. And I do Crossy Road and Slither.io. On Crossy Road, you get to unlock characters and there’s like this machine and it’s like a mystery. You don’t know what character you’re going to get. And you get to tap on the screen and you have to try and get a lot of jumps. If a car runs over you, you die and you get a new turn. And in Slither.io, there are snakes and you get to choose them and you click the “ok” button and then you get to move. The other guys have to try to bump into you and you get to take them and get longer. It’s really cool.
I’ve been with the division for 28 years. It’s been a great, wonderful 28 years here. I’ve learned a whole lot, especially respecting electricity. We deal with high voltage and low voltage electricity. You learn not to play around with it and that you have to take it in a serious manner every time. My job is to make sure people are comfortable. My main concern is the kids and the teachers in their rooms. I remember when I started here, we had to get a ladder and climb up just to read the temperature on the ceiling and what’s coming out of the vent. Now it’s so much easier. We can view it on the computer. We don’t have to look for the tallest ladder in the school just to check the temperature and air flow out of the vent. It’s come a long way.
What do you enjoying doing when you’re not at work?
A lot of different things. I really enjoy being outdoors. Gardening is one of my favorite things and being out in the water or riding my motorcycle. And family, helping mom as much as I can. I enjoy diving and snorkeling. That’s one of my favorite things, but there’s nothing around here. I grew up in the Philippines islands and I learned the ocean is like a playground. You wait for the tide to go out and the tide to come in, and you’ve got the biggest swimming pool in town. It’s just such a beautiful different planet being under the water.
I like math and science. I like math because I get good grades in it, and if I get good grades then I get to do fun things. And if I don’t do fun things then all I have to do is watch TV when my room’s clean, and that’s boring.
What are ‘fun things’ for you?
I like to swim in my pool when it’s sunny. I like to draw. I like to watch videos on my phone or tablet and read sometimes. Watch a movie. Having fun with my family members, even though we don’t always have much time together. That’s really it.
My interest in psychology started when I was in undergrad. My best friend’s son was diagnosed with autism and, when I was working with him and helping her look at what treatments were available, I was also in my Psychology 101 class and it was very challenging and very interesting and that kind of directed me into psychology. My experience has mostly been working with kids with autism. Up through my internship I did focus mainly on doing behavior therapy with kids on the spectrum. I love how unique each child is. No matter who I work with, they always have some kind of interest that’s different from all the rest. I enjoy working with children, more so than adults, and I feel like preventive care is the most important issue so working in elementary schools has kind of been my passion. I really like to focus in as early as possible to help guide them through what they need to learn to be fully-functioning members of the community.
My favorite subject is everything in school. I like all subjects! In math you get to know more numbers. You get to know how to add. You get to know how to subtract. You get to know how to divide. It’s very fun because you also get to know your timetables. Once you know all your math, you can ask people questions about if they know their math and you can help them with their homework.
I like library, too. You get to read. I mostly read nonfiction books because I’m an animals guy. I learn new stuff about animals every day. I have learned that aardvarks can close their nostrils. A dolphin is a kind of whale and a killer whale is a kind of dolphin. I think termites eat wood.
I like music because you get to work on your voice. So if you want to be a singer you can learn from music and when you like a song, you can probably sing it to your family.
And art is fun because you draw. My brother loves to draw. If you’re drawing you can make a cartoon. Like there’s somebody named Chris Battle, I think, who made Teen Titans Go! He’s on the commercial. He told us how to draw Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg and Robin. I’m still working on my drawing, but art helps you draw every day you go. And it’s fun to draw because you get to color; you get to shade things. You get to imagine new things and if you make a mistake you can fix it. Just like a pencil. Pencils can make a mistake and redo them. That’s what I like about art.
I like computers. The computer lab reminds you that you have to keep your hands clean because it says put hand sanitizer on your hands before entering. And one day we learned about internet safety. I learned that a fake name can probably make you go to jail.
I really also like things that really aren’t subjects, like lunch and PE. I like PE because you get to work out and get stronger. I’m planning to play football and you have to be strong to play football. I was a running back, so you have to be strong to truck. We also learn new words in PE, like ‘cardio.’
I just like everything about school!
The biggest challenge for a teacher is keeping everyone engaged and excited about what they’re learning. They have so much external stimuli nowadays with all of their technology, their games, all of their apps; sometimes it’s challenging to bring that into the classroom effectively and to make it a learning tool instead of something that they just want to play with. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges, but all of the technology that we have now is making it a lot easier for that transition to occur.
I like to play with my friends and share stuff with them, and I like to play with my dogs because they’re puppies. They’re all Chihuahuas. Our tiniest one is named Cali and the one we got before her is Sadie, and then the one we had when I was a baby is named Bella. I like jumping on my trampoline and going in my new pool with them. They sometimes sneak in the pool. When we were at my grandma’s house, we took our dogs with us and our dog Sadie jumped right in the pool so we had to go get her. They swim a lot.
What do you like about school?
School is fun because I learn new things and I like science because we get to do experiments. We did a experiment with magnets. Our teacher took a paperclip and put it far away, and then she took two magnets and we watched to see which one could make the paperclip come to it. I like school, too, because we have a library and I love reading. I go there a lot. I like chapter books. Reading is fun. You can learn things when you read.
I love learning about science and especially about space. I love to know what’s going on outside our planet. NASA has found seven planets in our galaxy that could have life on it. When they say a planet is capable to sustain life, I think really any planet is capable. It just depends. Life is different on every planet. Every planet should have something that can live on it.
Do you want to be an astronaut?
I don’t want to go in space, but maybe I would like to be somebody who helps in the control center with people who do go into space.
I like figuring things out. Sometimes I run into a situation when I’m working on a certain system or appliance and there aren’t any schematics, so we have to figure it out wire by wire, circuit by circuit. It can be challenging and it takes time, but it’s fun.
I work with cars if I have time. I like to tinker with stuff, to see something move and see how it works. I’d rather do it myself than pay someone else to fix it. It saves money there. If I can save money at home, I can probably save School Plant money, too.
This year in seventh grade, I feel like there is less work. Considering I am on the ODU Advance Team as a seventh-grader, we are expected to do more in class than more at home. In fifth grade I did orchestra. But, in sixth grade and this year I stopped and I don’t know why, so I am going back to that next year because I like playing the viola. I’ve played it two years.
I like to do math and make up my own problems based on what we’re learning in class. I like to learn numbers and solve problems. That’s why I want to be an engineer when I grow up and use math because that’s one of my favorite subjects in school. If it’s your favorite thing to do, why would you not do it outside of school?