Our CHARACTERS A profile of the people who make Volusia County unique

From Competitive Figure Skater to Educator, Joy Lewis Explains Why Teaching is a Team Sport. 

Very few people can say that they competed at the highest level of their sport. What did it take to achieve that and what did you carry, if anything, from that experience into teaching?

The act of training competitively for anything is challenging and requires sacrifices and discipline. Life is full of challenges and skating helped teach me how to stay calm and graceful under pressure, since there is often a camera in your face after you’ve just fallen on your butt! The fact that I’m a figure skater and competed in a solo sport has shown me how much I love working on a team. Teaching is a team sport, filled with stakeholders from the community. Parents, students, colleagues — all working toward the greater good of the children!

The theme of this month’s issue is Workforce Training and Development. What are some ways that you have developed your skills as a professional?

The best teachers never stop learning. Professionally, I’ve had so many opportunities to stay a learner while being a teacher. Through local school districts and Daytona State College I’ve been able to observe other teachers and collaborate with them in the classroom. Ultimately, the Daytona State future teachers in my courses benefit also, as they get to see what I’ve learned from the public school teachers. I’m able to make connections from years
of research and classroom teaching to the practice that I’ve observed and have now taught them! It’s all very cyclical, and
very collaborative.

Why do you teach?

I have the best of both worlds teaching at Daytona State. I missed working with the kiddos every day at school, and through partnerships with Volusia and Flagler County Schools I get to teach my students about teaching reading out at schools with K12 students! Our future teachers say that when they get to see me model the strategies that they’ve been reading and learning about, it makes it all come together for them, which is the biggest reason I teach and why I love training new teachers.

What makes Daytona State College’s School of Education unique amongst other schools?

The Daytona State College School of Education requires that all future teachers spend a significant amount of time in classrooms during their coursework. Assignments are done with K12 students alongside supervising teachers in Volusia and Flagler Counties who enjoy training our students and have a passion for impacting the lives of children. So much time spent in the classroom allows our future teachers to truly see the daily operations of a school and classroom. Upon graduation, they’re very well prepared to teach!

What’s one issue related to education in Volusia County that you wish more of the public knew about?

I wish that the public knew more about the tremendous opportunities that are available to students and families through Volusia County Public Schools. Rigorous IB programs, unique academies, and championship athletic programs. And that’s just at the high school level! Elementary and middle schools are making incredible gains and the district leadership is driven and determined to continue that growth.

What makes you a character?

I’m going to approach the word ‘character’ as a noun, adjective and verb! I’m a character because I’m a dramatic, loud, typical New York transplant. I come across as bossy and I interrupt people way too often, two things which I’m working on improving every day. I’ve been told that my passion for teaching is contagious…and dangerous. While I teach, my arms flail around and I’ve been known to inadvertently throw things across the room due to enthusiastic hand gestures. I’m not sure if this makes me sound like a “character” or like a lunatic. They say that all the best teachers are crazy. If so, I’m proud to be in good company!