Each year, Champions honors site directors who go above and beyond in creating a high quality before-and-after school environment. Quality Achievement Award Winner Corrine Smyth, who leads the Champions program at Wildwood Elementary School in Westland, Mich., believes that as long as every teacher puts the best interests of their students first, everything else will fall into place. Learn more about Corrine below.
What do you love most about your job?
For starters, I don’t just consider this a job: To me it’s a calling. I find that every day is a new day filled with laughter, growth and opportunity. There is no way that I can be in a room with my children (and yes, I consider them all my children) and not be filled with happiness and love. I enjoy seeing their faces when they make a new friend or they learn something new.
Not many people can say that they love what they do, but for me it’s the best job in the world. I look forward to going to work every day knowing that I am about to have fun and get to see life from a fresh perspective. Kids just have such a positive outlook on life and it’s important to take the time to be present with them and enjoy all these moments. The impact of a teacher in the life of a child is so memorable and I’m truly honored to think that I’ve had such an impact in the lives of so many.
What Service Value resonates most with you and why?
I try to live and breathe our Service Values every day, but for me the one that resonates most is “I build great relationships with families.” There is nothing greater than watching friendships that form in our programs. I love taking the time to learn more about every child and their family and I make sure that I am building a relationship with all of the children and families in our programs.
I have three children of my own that are in the Champions programs and we’ve become friends with many of the families outside of the program. I’ve been to school events and after-school activities just to watch all of my Champions children do what they love outside of the program. We often bump into our families at the store on the weekends and it’s great to be able to chat in the aisle about their child. I feel confident that our families wouldn’t hesitate reaching out to me about any questions or concerns and that they know I would assist them however I could. I love sharing with our families about their children while they are in our programs, and showing them glimpses of the quality care we give their child while they are in our care.
What advice would you give to your colleagues?
Love what you do and remember how fortunate you are! Take the time to enjoy every minute and truly be present. Enjoy every child in your program and take the time to play with them and do the activities with them. The children really enjoy seeing you having fun with them, and the more goofy you are the more they will remember those moments. Remember that for a lot of these kids, you are the biggest stability in the life from year to year and remember the impression that these moments will leave on them will last forever.