Community, Local Schools

Gardendale Teacher Spotlight – Mindi Ma

The Gardendale News is celebrating Gardendale teachers with our Teacher Spotlight Series.

Teachers have a powerful influence on our children. As busy as we are as parents, teachers may spend more time during the week with our kids than we do. I can’t recall ever meeting a teacher over my life that wasn’t passionate about helping kids learn and grow and become better at every aspect of their young lives.

Teaching is an awesome responsibility and those who choose it as a profession find that the profession carries a heavy weight of responsibility and, often, not enough resources to truly do all that can be done.

There are many important professions, but I don’t know of another that carries the level of responsibility for shaping minds and lives in the way that the teaching profession does.

So, in this Teacher Spotlight Series, we thank and celebrate our teachers and let our readers have a chance to learn a little more about each one.

Mindi Ma is a Gardendale resident and 2nd grade teacher at Snow Rogers Elementary. She graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in Elementary Education. She has been a teacher for 17 years.

Treye Hanner: Tell us a little about you and how you decided to become a teacher?

Mindi Ma: As a high school student, I had my heart set on becoming part of the medical community, as a radiologist. After spending a few days shadowing people at a local hospital, I decided that was not the life for me. I just could not see myself working in the hospital setting everyday. I knew that I loved to be around children, and decided to change my major in college to Elementary Education. I never looked back.

Treye Hanner: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?

Mindi Ma: My favorite part of teaching is being with the students, and also the friendships I have made over the last 17 years. No one else knows what it is like being a teacher unless you have done the job, or are currently doing the job. Teachers need each other.  We lean on each other on our worst day, and celebrate with each other on our best days.  Our days are never boring, and absolutely never the same. You just never know what each day will bring. I can say with certainty that I have never taught the same day twice.

Treye Hanner: Are there special moments where you say to yourself, “this is why I teach?”

Mindi Ma: Relationships. This is why I teach. Relationships with students, parents, and other teachers. I have been doing this long enough that some of my first students are adults now, starting families of their own, or college students, deciding what to do with their lives. I see them in the community, church, ball games, and are proud of what they have accomplished.

Treye Hanner:  What challenges have you experienced while having to teach through the pandemic?

Mindi Ma: Oh, boy….loaded question…honestly, the situations that I have found most challenging are;  trying to keep all students caught up on school work, keeping students accountable for what they can control, and keeping a positive attitude. We were all put into a situation where we had no idea how to be successful teachers during this time. We did what teachers do. We found a way to make it work…and we are still finding ways to make it work.

Treye Hanner: What’s the one thing you would like people to know about teachers?

Mindi Ma: We are human beings. We are doing our best. We want the best for your children, just like you do!