Fourth Grade Teacher Creates a Growth Mindset Tool for Classroom

In addition to her role as a fourth grade teacher at the Arthur T. Cummings School, Nicole Gregory is a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, where she helps with the planning and curriculum delivery.

“It is rewarding to have a voice in the planning at this level because I am able to assist in making sure our students get the very best instructional practices to ensure their success,” said Gregory, who is originally from Taunton. After earning her bachelor’s degree in English/elementary education from Merrimack College and her master’s degree in elementary education from Salem State College


When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?

When I started to take on leadership roles in high school activities, such as National Honor Society and Key Club, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. I knew I would be a good leader and role model for my students.  Since I loved writing and reading so much, I went to college with the plan of becoming a high-school English teacher.  When I returned home for summer break after my freshman year of college, I took a permanent substitute teaching position in second grade – I loved working in an elementary school. When I returned to Merrimack in the fall, I promptly changed my plan to get my license in elementary education.  I taught first grade in Malden for 12 years before taking a job in Winthrop, and have now been teaching fourth grade at the Cummings for three years – it was a great move!


What do you love about teaching in the Winthrop School District?

There are many things I love about teaching in Winthrop.  I love the small-town atmosphere that extends into the Cummings School – everyone cares about each other and wants the best for all of the students that we teach.  In the three years I have worked in Winthrop, I have formed bonds with many of my colleagues that I know will continue.  I also really appreciate the involvement of all of the students and their families.  I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful, hard-working fourth-graders and to be partners with their families in helping them do their very best at school.


If you weren’t a teacher, what other profession could you see yourself doing?

If I wasn’t a teacher, I know I would still love to be working in the education field.  In the future, I would like to work in an educational leadership role, but I don’t think I’m ready to leave the classroom yet. If I weren’t working in a school, I would definitely want to be in a position where I would be interacting with people every day, but the best fit for me is definitely education.


Is there someone who inspired you to teach?

Coincidentally, since I now teach fourth grade, I was very inspired by my own fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Procknik.  Her kind way and attention to detail always made me feel special.  Though she is now retired, she runs into my parents from time to time in Taunton, and always asks how I am doing – she was so excited to hear that I became a teacher. I hope to influence some of my own students in this same way.


Do your students inspire you?

My students inspire me EVERY day!  I am constantly amazed by their flexibility, resilience, and ability to start each day with a fresh outlook on their learning.  This year, I have decided to embrace the idea of a Growth Mindset in my classroom and I am thrilled with how the students have engaged with this concept.  At the start of the year, we talked about how we may not know how to do a certain task…yet.  With perseverance and diligence, we can reach our goals, but we have to train our brains to think that we can do it.  At the end of each day, each student posts a note on our Growth Mindset bulletin board to show a way that they have not given up that day.  After dismissal, I come back and read their notes and am truly filled with pride and inspiration, seeing how they have overcome their personal challenges that day.

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