Hutchings Inspires Early Childhood Students at OFTC
Operating under the belief that learning is critical to the healthy development of a child, Carla Hutchings has spent her entire career investing into students and future teachers.
A native to Washington County, Hutchings has impacted the lives of so many local students, including the aspiring teachers and childcare providers at Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC).
With the spring semester coming to a close, Hutchings prepares to complete her second year at OFTC as an Early Childhood Care and Education Instructor and the Division Chair for Professional Services.
Q: What is your background in the education field?
A: Before working at OFTC, I attended Georgia College and State University where I received a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education, a Masters in Early Childhood Education, and a Specialist in Early Childhood Education, as well as Leadership credentials in Curriculum and Supervision.
Q: What were you doing prior to teaching at OFTC?
A: I worked in public schools as a primary teacher, a teacher of gifted education classes, and an administrator in primary and elementary schools. Following my retirement from the Washington County Public Schools, I worked in the Early Childhood teacher preparation program at Georgia College and State University as an instructor and a cohort leader for six years.
Q: And how did you end up coming to OFTC?
A: I was interested in a career change and thought that preparation of early child care providers and paraprofessionals would be a good fit with my experience and interests.
Q: Why is teaching something you love to do?
A: I strongly believe that early learning is critical to the healthy development of a child and that children are a fragile but highly valuable resource. Because of that belief, I have enjoyed working to develop schedules, environments, and curriculum in schools where young children could flourish. I have provided supervision and instruction to pre-service teachers and practicing teachers in the field of Early and Elementary Education to help teachers develop their teaching skills, and now I am training students at OFTC who will care and educate children from birth to pre-K ages. I feel that I have been working in different ways to support young children at each of stage of my career.
Q: What do you love most about working with students?
A: I love making connections with students of all ages. Once a connection is made, learning is a more positive and productive experience for the student and the teacher.
Q: Specifically, what do you love about teaching future teachers and early education care and education providers?
A: I love knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of all the young children touched by the students I teach.
Q: How do you think someone can know that the education field is something they would enjoy as a career?
A: Anyone who wants to work in the field of early care and learning should be a caring, nurturing individual. They should like children and be interested in the ways they grow and learn. If a person believes they have these basic traits, they are a good candidate for the field of early learning.
Q: Why do you think education is a good field for someone to consider?
A: Being an educator is a good career choice because it provides intrinsic rewards every day. Some careers offer a higher salary, but few fields offer such variety in the daily schedule, the knowledge that you can help others, and the satisfaction of seeing your work pay off in the growth of another person.
Q: What is your advice to those who might be struggling with the idea of either starting college for the first time or changing careers?
A: Don’t’ be afraid to do something different! Changing your career, your job, or starting college may seem challenging or even frightening, but it can be wonderful to meet new people, learn new things, and ultimately grow in confidence because you’ve faced challenges.
Q: What do you love most about OFTC?
A: The people at OFTC are great to work with. There is a supportive environment for both students and employees here. It’s a great place to start college and get ready for a new career. So many structures are in place at OFTC to support each student willing to make the first step by enrolling.
Q: Would you like to share some info about your family?
A: I’m a native of Washington County and have worked in the middle Georgia area for my entire career. I have been married to my husband, Chris Hutchings for more than 40 years. Our family includes our older son, Andrew and his wife, Sara and our younger son, Stephen.