Tabatha Rosproy was an excellent student ― so eager to learn, that in fact, she asked to go to summer school. As a child, regular classwork wasn’t enough, and teachers worked to give her additional enrichment activities to keep her engaged.
Those activities, including stepping in as temporary substitute when the teacher had to leave the room, were her first taste of what it was like to be a teacher and set her on a path that decades later led to the honor of being named 2020 National Teacher of the Year.
Tabatha’s work with young children started early. She was working as a babysitter by 13, often bringing crafts and activities for her young charges, and formed a sort of “Babysitters Club” with friends to look after multiple families at once. In high school, she taught Spanish to local preschoolers as part of a dual-credit college class. There, she observed the excellent teaching of “Miss Pat,” who didn’t condescend to the young children she taught and was instead a partner in their learning, inspiring Tabatha to join the field.
Now a 10-year veteran teacher, Tabatha teaches typically developing and special education preschoolers at Winfield Early Learning Center. Her classroom is housed at Cumbernauld Village, a retirement community and nursing home, and the 4-year-old students interact every day with community residents, who serve as volunteer “grandmas” and “grandpas.” The “grandparents” read to the children one-on-one every day, and join the youngsters for music activities, field trips and games. Tabatha’s favorite is a modified game of bingo to help children learn letters and numbers up to 20.
As the 2020 National Teacher of the Year, Tabatha has used her own platform to promote the importance of early childhood education and the need for social-emotional learning for all students.
Tabatha holds a Bachelor of Arts in unified early childhood education, including special education and typically developing students, from Southwestern College and is near completion of her Master of Science in education (English as a Secondary or Other Language) at Fort Hays State University. She enjoys reading (particularly mysteries and crime thrillers), dancing, gardening, and spending time with loved ones. She lives in Winfield, Kansas, with her husband, and their cats, Mr. Darcy, Beak, Beezus and Frankenstein.