Another week, another collection of stories about educators who are doing outstanding things in their field. Whether it’s the school as a whole, or an individual teacher, it is uplifting to read about those who truly care about their students and are making a difference in their lives. We hope you enjoy this weeks’ stories! Check back next week for even more. And if there are any educators in your life who you think deserve a shoutout, send us a direct message on Twitter @enrichingedjobs.
You may have heard of the recent trend of decorating school walls — even restrooms — with inspirational messages. We’ve talked about a few of them in our past roundups. This week, it’s Oakwood High School in Illinois. But what do students think about these messages? Do they really notice them? Yes, they do. One student said “It’s really uplifting,” as she was facing doubts about her performance on the track team. But these positive messages inspired her to keep going. Read more about why the school decided to paint its walls, and how educators got involved for the social and emotional health of their students.
This story is slightly different from the usual format of stories we share, but it was so touching! It focuses, not a specific teacher or two, but stories from teachers who were inspired by educators from their past. These stories prove that many choose to become teachers because of the tremendous impact a teacher had on their own life. One woman shares how a teacher she had was at one time “the only joy in my life.” Another teacher shares that her old math teacher actually would bring in old refrigerator door to display student work, that it was evident she really loved her job and her students. Another man shared that his math teacher would meet with him and his friends every morning to tutor them. He says “Mrs. Hynes taught me to embrace the struggle and find value in the work regardless of your grade.” These are only a few examples; check out the article to read several inspiring stories that might remind you why you teach.
Two teachers have gotten recognition as the Prince Williams Living New Teacher of the Year award. This is an award given to first-year teachers who make a difference. Ashley Dunnaway has earned a reputation as a caring and inspiring educator. She says “I look at things through a lens of equity rather than equality because what works for one student may not work for another.” Kaleigh Doan, the other recipient of the award, has created a family-like atmosphere in her classroom, as well as bringing experience from her own life and travels. She expresses that one of her most important values as an educator “is to create a ‘family’ atmosphere in my classroom where students feel safe, valued, and empowered.” Read more about these two exceptional teachers and their classroom practices.Alaskan teacher of the year finalist Jacob Bera has been interested in the arts ever since his childhood. Now, as a teacher, he inspires his students and admits they inspire and even teach him things at times. He has started an annual ‘Fine Arts Cabaret’ that brings students and teachers together yearly to showcase student work to those in the community. Bera says, ‘it’s fun just to sort of step back and watch my students interact with the community and speak about their work. To me, that’s the best advocacy, is having a student speak about their passion for the art and what they’re doing in schools.” Learn more about how Bera decided to become an art teacher, and how he inspires students.