Virginia Taff is a third grade crusader

Savannah Chastain
Virginia Taff has been teaching third grade for almost two decades and said her family is a family of teachers. “My husband is a retired educator, my daughter teaches math at Pryor, and my son and daughter-in-law teach in Alabama,” she said.

Virginia Taff’s room is colorful and cheery, offering a welcoming atmosphere for her new third-grade class at Destin Elementary School. A beach chair sits in one corner, and in another, bright sand pails with shovels await a fun back-to-school grab-bag event.

“It’s a surf and beach theme,” said Taff pointing out the surfboard name plates. “I think the kids will like that.”

This year will mark Taff’s 18th year teaching, with 10 years in Alabama schools and her past seven years at Elliot Point Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach.

“I’ve always taught third grade and I love it,” said Taff. “They’re independent, yet they are still excited about school and learning, and they still like to please the teacher.”

As far as her teaching style, Taff said that she likes to take a more student-driven approach.

“I like to give the kids choice about what they’re reading and other areas of language arts,” she said. “They are still learning the curriculum but it’s a lot more one-on-one and I am able to address individual needs better that way.”

Taff explained that in this method of teaching, children can choose from several options including learning programs on computers, iPads, and interactive white boards.

“The kids really like it so it keeps them motivated and excited about learning,” she said.

 As a Destin resident, Taff said that her main reason for changing schools was to bring her work closer to home.

“It really cuts down on the commute time,” she said.

Taff added that she has previously worked under Principal Janet Stein, and really looks forward to building friendships and community with teachers an students in the Destin school.

“I’m excited about being here; getting involved in the school, and all the activities they have here for the kids,” she said.