Taylor Hudson, Pittsfield Elementary kindergarten teacher

Taylor Hudson was raised in Ann Arbor and attended Ann Arbor Public Schools, where her parents are also educators. Her father, Kevin, is a class principal at Pioneer School High School, and her mother, Laura Hudson, is a fourth grade teacher at Bach.

Taylor attended college to be a field ecologist but felt a draw to education. After completing the University of Michigan’s Master of Arts with Elementary Teacher Certification (ELMAC) program under the mentorship of Jen Duman at Pittsfield Elementary, she was hired at Thurston Elementary, where she taught first grade for two years.

Hudson is now teaching kindergarten for the second year at Pittsfield Elementary. She enjoys being able to walk to work every day and see students around the neighborhood.

Principal Melita Alston says Taylor is a natural-born leader and asset to the Pittsfield community.

“From the onset of her internship at Pittsfield in the 2018-19 school year with another exceptional mentor teacher, Jen Duman, to now teaching kindergarten at Pittsfield, Taylor exemplifies a cheerful, innovative, and equitable mindset,” says Alston.  “She is deeply committed to the profession through her advocacy for early learners and participation in school life such as the PTO and talent show.”

Why did you decide to teach kindergarten?
I have always wanted to teach kindergarten. It sets the foundation for the child’s next twelve
years of school. Everyone remembers kindergarten! I didn’t have the best kindergarten
experience, so I try to be the best for my students. Kindergarten is all about growing, learning,
and exploring. I love creating many of those first memories with students.

Why did you want to work for Ann Arbor Public Schools?
I live in Ann Arbor, and it is very important to me to teach where I live. My community at home
reflects my community at school. I like the connection.

What do you like about working at Pittsfield specifically, and AAPS in general?
Since I interned at Pittsfield in 2019, I knew I wanted to stay. My principal is supportive, and my
coworkers feel like my family. The sense of community at Pittsfield is amazing. I also moved
down the street from the school two years ago, so I have a short walk daily.

What’s the happiest part of your day?
My favorite part of the day is arrival. Each day starts anew, and they usually walk up to me with
a big smile or some big news—even though I saw them less than 24 hours prior.

What do you want most for your students?
I want my students to feel safe, supported, and cared for. Their education is important, but I can’t teach them and help them grow until their basic needs are met and we have built a strong relationship.

Favorite podcasts, websites, apps:

Are you learning to speak another language?
Yes! I studied Spanish in high school but then studied Italian in college. Since I am certified to be an EL teacher and have many Spanish speakers in my class, I am trying to learn Spanish again!

Was there a teacher who had a particularly strong influence on your career? If so, what did you learn?
There are two! My mom, Laura Hudson, and my former mentor teacher, Jen Duman. Jen taught me everything I know, especially interactive modeling and classroom management. I am so lucky to get to teach across the hall from her. My mom has taught for 29 years. She loves to make lessons more interactive and engaging. She always inspires me to get creative with my lessons!

What advice would you give to a first-year teacher?
Exactly what I say to my students, “Try your best, forget the rest!” You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have questions. You won’t be perfect, but you’ll learn and grow each year.

What’s the best compliment anyone could give you?
The best compliment someone could give me is that they feel love and care when they come into
my classroom.

What is the most rewarding part of teaching?
The most rewarding part of teaching is seeing students use the skills I’ve taught them outside of academic contexts. Or when parents tell me their child uses self-care and conflict-resolution strategies at home. Sometimes, it feels like what I am saying goes in one ear and out the other, but then I get reminded that they are listening!

How do you spend your summers?
I have taught at the Summer Learning Institute (SLI) every summer since becoming a teacher.

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