Words of Wisdom

There are always teachers around us that inspire us to achieve more.  When our district high schools announced their individual teachers of the year, I sent out a survey asking a few questions.  It is surprising that although several teachers were asked their answers all had various similarities.  So today I share with you some of the words of wisdom and individual stories that came from various teachers in Mansfield ISD.   

When asked to share words of wisdom to others, these were some of the most prolific responses.  

 

Words that seemed to resonate with each teacher included the following

  • Determination
  • Desire
  • Helpful
  • Passionate

Jennifer Roberts, Teacher of the Year at Legacy High School, answered the following question about her personal beliefs and feelings about teaching.

Describe your personal beliefs and feelings about teaching.

“I believe that teaching is a calling.  It’s much more than the dissemination of information from teacher to student.  Successful teachers are able to make a connection that broadens a student’s idea of the world and of what they can accomplish in life.  They inspire students to dream big and to put aside short term pleasures for long term rewards.  Students thrive in a classroom environment that is safe, respectful, and caring.  I believe that successful teachers are very adaptable as students have different needs.  For my students who are the first in their families to go to college, I am their resource beyond high school graduation when they need help navigating the higher educational system with which their parents are unfamiliar.  Because of the teachers who invested in me and helped me to reach my educational goals, I am passionate about helping my students reach their fullest potential.  It is a blessing to be able to have a lasting impact in my students’ lives”.

Stephanie Garrett, Teacher of the Year at Timberview High School, answered the following question about her personal beliefs and feelings about teaching.

Describe your personal beliefs and feelings about teaching.

“Over my 16 years in education, I have found that teaching history is a vast and sometimes complicated task. The foundation of any successful history class is for the instructor to be passionate about what they are teaching. Once that is in place, then activities, techniques, and teaching methods only enhance the subject matter and make it come alive for the learner. My approach to teaching history uses a variety of methods, techniques, and activities so that my high school students not only learn the material, but also enjoy the process at the same time.

 I believe that for true learning to occur, the student must take ownership of the process. To help my students do this, I incorporate an interactive journal I call an investigative diary. With this journal we take notes, evaluate information, and synthesize what we have learned to be able to apply that knowledge to new situations. While the basic information stays the same, the students manipulate what they have learned to not only better remember the information, but also use it in their everyday life. Each section has a title page that is created at the end of the unit and includes word webs, graphics, an acrostic, and a what if question. This helps put all of the information for that unit together in one eye-catching page. The investigative diary is also an excellent study tool for the big test at the end of the year.

Within any American classroom, there are those students who struggle with the subject matter, and sometimes school in general. For these students I try to present the information in a variety of ways so that I can best meet their specific educational needs. Whether the need is extended time, modified notes, or accommodated testing procedures, I believe that every student can be successful in my class. I also cover the information more than once so that students are better able to move information from their short-term memory to their long-term memory. Collaboration groups are formed and assignments set so that each member of the group can contribute something of value to the assignment.

 It is my desire that my passion for history and teaching radiates as I conduct my class. Every year there is a different method or activity to try. Variety is the spice of life, and just because the history stays the same that does not mean that the presentation has to as well.  I was not always a teacher professionally, but I believe that teaching has always been where my heart lied. It is my joy of learning, my excitement over a new history find, and my willingness to be out of the ordinary that makes my class engaging, my subject interesting, and my teaching that much better”.

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