They've got Class • County schools name Teachers of the Year
Compiled by Kathryn Schiliro
Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
The votes are in, and we're not talking about the mid-term elections.
Morgan County Primary, Elementary, Middle and High schools selected their Teachers of the Year last week, and surprised them with the honor.
To qualify, teachers have to be certified, have three years of experience in the school system and, per state rules, "should spend the majority of their time teaching in the classroom setting" (which eliminates administrators or counselors, for example, from being nominated).
"The Teacher of the Year (TOTY) should be an 'exceptional, dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher planning to continue in active teaching status who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. He/she should have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues and plan an active and useful role in the community, as well as in the school. The TOTY should be poised and articulate and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule,'" according to a memo from Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach concerning selection of TOTYs.
Voting by certified teachers at each of the county's schools was held Nov. 3, and winners were announced Nov. 5. The four winners will now compete for system TOTY, which will be announced Nov. 16.
Meet this year's Morgan County TOTYs:
Seventh Grade Life Science and Reading
What is your approach to teaching? It's all about the students; the subject is secondary. I want the students to enjoy learning and to learn how they learn best. By using various teaching methods and activities, I try to help each student meet expectations, find success, use logic and creativity, take responsibility for his or her own learning, and build for the future.
What does it mean to you to be named your school's Teacher of the Year? To be named Teacher of the Year for Morgan County Middle School is truly an honor; it is a great school with great people. Due to the respect I have for the efforts and dedication of all of the faculty and staff, I am proud to be chosen by them as an example of the hard work we put in everyday for the students.
What is your approach to teaching? I teach a collaborative class with a wonderful group of children and staff. With the help of other collaborative teachers, we are able to work more closely with each child individually. Getting to know what each child likes or dislikes has been one of our biggest assets. We are able to use this information to differentiate the lessons with art, music, visuals, or movement. We teach in small groups and one-on-one often throughout the day. This enables us to conference with each child to learn exactly what he/she needs. We also allow our students to be more engaged in their own learning by setting goals for themselves. They really enjoy seeing the progress that they make throughout the year.
What does it mean to you to be named your school's Teacher of the Year? Being Teacher of the Year at Morgan County Primary School is such an honor to me. The staff members at Morgan County Primary all have such a great outlook on making teaching meaningful and memorable. I can’t express how blessed and excited I am to be teacher of the year amongst such an awesome group of people.
Fifth Grade Math, Science and Social Studies
What is your approach to teaching? My approach to teaching is that I never give up on a student. I have high expectations and I provide support and encouragement for them to reach these goals.
What does it mean to you to be named your school's Teacher of the Year? It is truly a honor to be recongnized by my colleagues as TOTY at MCES. I work with the finest and most dedicated teachers you will find anywhere. Their acknowledgement means more to me than anything else.
11th Grade United States History and International Baccalaureate History of Americas
What is your approach to teaching? My approach to teaching is to always make it relate to the students I teach and to try my best to make it fun and interesting. If the students enjoy what is going on around them, they will be more inclined to learn and work hard.
What does it mean to you to be named your school's Teacher of the Year? It means a lot to be recognized by your peers for doing a good job. It is a very shocking and humbling experience. Most of the people at MCHS have either advised or inspired me in some way over the last five years. The teachers and administrators have taught me everything I know about teaching and I am truly grateful.
Printed in the November 11, 2010 edition.