LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Lindsay Canfield

Position: Fourth Grade Teacher
School: Sheldon Elementary School
School District: Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union
City, State: Sheldon, VT

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Music that Describes Lindsay

Lindsay Canfield was nominated by Patricia Leonard, a family member.

Ms. Canfield is a hardworking, dedicated teacher, and a positive role model for her students. She puts in so much effort into her classroom. Last year, she took on the role of teaching third and fourth grades. Two days before the start of this school year, she was asked to take on the entire fourth grade due to COVID-19 regulations, such as not being able to have students switch classrooms. She accepted without hesitation. She was even told that she might have upwards of 27 students, and she said she was happy to help in whatever capacity was needed to achieve regulation.

Ms. Canfield might also be the most flexible teacher. After schools decided to switch to full in-person learning for four days a week, she was told that her class wouldn't fit in her room, and she was asked to move to the library, gym, or music room to accommodate the size. Without hesitation, she said she would move to the library. Even though she had spent an enormous amount of time organizing her room and getting it ready for the start of the school year, she gathered her materials and got right to work on building a welcoming learning environment in the library for her students. 

When Ms. Canfield first started out at Sheldon Elementary School, she said that the books that were given to her for her classroom library were pretty dated. For her own birthday and holidays, instead of asking for gifts for herself, she asks for books for her classroom. 

During remote learning last year, she spent many hours connecting with her students and learning many platforms to best reach her students and give simplistic, direct instruction. She spent hours recording herself and conducting Google Meets with students to give them 1:1 instruction and to help them with their assignments from a tiny 12-inch laptop screen.

Ms. Canfield demonstrated the highest of educational standards this past spring, when one of her students lost a parent. She drove to the family's house and brought a homemade dinner, flowers, and a card from the class. She continued to check in with this student on a regular basis and held Google Meets with him to make sure he was doing alright.

Ms. Canfield was aware that all of her students needed some nurturing at the social-emotional learning level. She made up some fun activities, like Find an Object (i.e., something that is square, something that is longer than 1 foot, etc.). She does this for in-person learning, too, by creating activities that incorporate math, reading, and writing in her morning meetings. 

Ms. Canfield has never taken a personal day for herself. She doesn't like missing school, and she looks forward to school every day. She spends her weekends creating a weekly plan and making sure that her lessons are engaging and active for her students.

Ms. Canfield requested time outside upon arrival at school. She heads out with the first student to arrive, and they walk perimeters around the fields until 8:00 AM. She spends this time checking in with her students as they socialize and engaging in conversations about their weekend, anything that they want to share, etc. 

"I think Lindsay deserves this recognition and reward," said Leonard. "She works so hard. She puts her students' needs first and is always thinking of what is best for them. Lindsay is passionate, positive, flexible, hardworking, creative, and the list goes on and on. She has the ability to make a kid who doesn't love school, find a love for school and fall in love with their least favorite subject. Last year, she told me a story about how she ends her day in a closing meeting where students share their rose and thorn. A rose is the best part of their day, and a thorn is the worst part of the day. During the first day of school, one of her students said their rose was going home and their thorn was being at school. She was able to make a connection with this student to hear exactly what made his day so awful. He didn't like his handwriting. Writing spans throughout all subject areas. She found a small window of opportunity to help him work on his handwriting each day, giving him positive feedback and encouraging to him along the way. He became more confident, and after a few weeks, his rose was being school, and his thorn was leaving. I think that says it all."