Getting to Know: Ms. Conley

Getting to Know: Ms. Conley

Sample Staff Member, Staff Writer

Teaching Terrific Students

Mrs. Conley has been teaching for three years, all of them at Irving Middle School. One of her favorite moments of teaching was when a student was discouraged. Over time she watched them grow and develop their skills in art. If Mrs. Conley had to switch to a different subject, she would pick history or literature. She loves when she can create art and zone out of reality, or just relax. She had a college teacher who helped her realize her potential in becoming teacher. Her favorite mottos are, “Failure equals learning equals growth,” “Why not? Try it,” and, “We aren’t perfect but if we can learn we can improve.” Math was one thing Mrs. Conley was not good at. She was able to get her grade up to a C with extra help. In college she was told that she would not have to take other math classes if she passed College Algebra so she worked really hard, never missed a class, asked for help when she needed it, and… She passed. When students are frustrated, she sometimes brings them up with a motto.

Teaching middle school is what Mrs. Conley considers her greatest accomplishment. A friend told her to go into teaching rather than her choosing it herself. Although after she was in the program for a few years she thought that she had always been a teacher but never realized it. While she was studying art education she said to herself that she would never teach middle school. After she was done student-teaching in Houston, Texas, she moved back to Nebraska where she spent most of her adolescence and looked for an art teaching position. She applied to many schools and Irving was the first to call her in for an interview. She says that the interview was not very good because she was so nervous, but a couple months later she got a call saying that she got the job if she wanted it.

The first year she didn’t really know what she was doing, and at one point wanted to give up, but she learned from her mistakes, took classes, developed new strategies, brainstormed with other teachers, and grew as a teacher and person. She took advice from Mr. Robb, “It takes three years. Give it three years before you give up on middle school.” Now (three years later) she loves middle school and would never give it up or change subject.


Behind the Scenes

Mrs. Conley’s husband is like her rock. She says she would not want to go through this journey of life without him. Her parents had a unhealthy relationship and divorced after 21 years of marriage. Her father moved to Kansas to start a horse ranch after and they have not talked for nine years. She has an older brother, but they unfortunately did not grow up together, and they barely know each other. She and her mother, however, have a great relationship although they have different perspectives on things. For example, how the world should be and how to handle problems and situations. Mrs. Conley says that she will probably not have her own kids.


Hard Times in Middle School

Moving twenty times before her time in middle school, Mrs. Conley says those years were tough. She says that she learned to not get close to anyone because they were just going to move, same with school events, clubs, activities, sports. Every time she was in a dance or play her family would move before the recital. She was always the “new kid” in school. She calls herself somewhat of a “loner” in middle school. She says when her family moved to a really small town (Hildreth, Nebraska) where everyone had grown up together and knew each other, she was quite, shy and an outsider. She didn’t fit in so she got bullied a lot. Things started to get better when her music teacher, Mrs. Garcia, told a couple of older kids to say ‘hi’ to her, and she started to make friends. In 8th grade her school merged with another so she was no longer the new kid and made many friends that she is still in touch with today.


For Fun

Mrs. Conley wanted to be a veterinarian or someone who worked with animals when she was young, as well as a famous actress in movies or Broadway (although she had only seen one broadway show in college). She also wanted to be a fashion designer at some point. She likes to play the ukulele in her spare time, and she loves to travel. When she was younger, she loved the ocean and went to Yellowstone National Park often. She once slept outside in the back of a truck along the beautiful Oregon coast. The next morning she woke up to a wonderful brisk ocean mist. Her favorite sports/events are the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.


All in all, Ms. Conley is a great teacher and we are very lucky to have her here at Irving.