Faculty Profile: Dori Childs, First Grade Teacher

Meet Ms. Dori Childs, one of our first grade teachers! Ms. Childs earned a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies from Piedmont College and, prior to joining Rabun Gap in 2017, worked as a preschool music teacher for five years. Before she got into teaching, she worked as a paralegal in family law and in management with JSB, Inc. She enjoys knitting, baking, and spending time with family.

What made you choose to work at Rabun Gap?

I chose Rabun Gap because of the amazing opportunities it provided to me professionally and to my children, who would be attending school here. I was excited to be a part of the Lower School and am thankful everyday for this opportunity. 
What did you do before coming to Rabun Gap?
Before coming to Rabun I was working at The Little School as a Pre-K teacher. 
What makes Rabun Gap special to you?
The people. From the upper school student that will stop to help a first grader to the housekeepers who keep our buildings clean. The people are what makes Rabun Gap special. I have been to other schools and I have not found nicer, more helpful people anywhere. 
What do you like most about working with our students?
I love the ideas they have. It is so fun to find a topic that they love and then they run with it. Last year, I had my students create a zoo. I thought it would be a half day activity but they had other ideas. It turned into a 2 day event with tours and presentations for other classes. 
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I have always loved children and was the children’s director at my church for several years. Our church had several teachers who would comment that I missed my calling as a teacher. I would laugh, but tucked their words away. Finally, I made a life change and started teaching music. It was the best decision I have ever made. I am so thankful to be a teacher today and I am so thankful those people encouraged me to do hard things and move out of my comfort zone. 
What is your teaching philosophy?
I have never really considered what my teaching philosophy might be, but if I have to put it into words I would say that my philosophy is to first love the child  right where they are. Then, through that relationship, I can begin to teach them and they will be ready to learn. I believe that a relationship with my students is foundational to teaching them. That relationship allows us to grow together, not just academically, but socially and emotionally, as well.  I always tell my students that no matter where they go, how old they become, they will always have a place kept in my heart. Always. 
What is it like working at the same school that your children attend?
It is really special to be able to see your child throughout the day. That is an opportunity most parents do not have and I am so thankful I do. Another advantage is the time we have in the car together. Living 45 minutes from where you work and go to school provides time to talk about the day before all the responsibilities of home take over. 
What is your favorite memory from the time you have worked here so far?
There are so many memories to choose from! I think one of my favorites is from MAD fest last year when my daughters sang and played a song. That was a really special memory for me. MAD fest is something I look forward to every year. 

You have been a teacher at the Lower School since it opened.  What has been the best part of watching the school grow and to have been a part of that growth? 
It is really neat to look back and realize what all we have accomplished in the past few years. This time five years ago, this building was the admissions office and just beginning to be transformed into a school. Now, our school feels natural and right and you would never even know that this building has been a gym, bowling alley and office space. 
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
I traveled to 25 national parks and 25 states in 29 days. We drove over 11,000 miles. 
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.