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School: Arrowhead Union High School, WI
Years Teaching: 7-8 years
Specialty: English Language Arts
Congratulations to Elizabeth J., our Stellar Educator of the Week! Elizabeth has the unique and very awesome honor of having been nominated by THREE separate people! We heard from a colleague, a student, and a parent about how amazing a teacher Elizabeth is. Elizabeth not only teaches and coaches, but she has been developing hybrid online classes for students, and finding ways for non-traditional students to have access to education. We are so inspired by Elizabeth and we are excited to share the words of those who nominated her:
Elizabeth listens and responds to her students. She takes risks and guides them through the learning process. She is expressive and enthusiastic, capturing students through verbal and non-verbal communication. In her classroom, she created opportunities for self-directed learning, fostering a love for new, and advanced knowledge through emotional stability, a genuine interest in, and liking of learners; recognition of the importance of intellectual development; a strong belief in individual differences and individualization; and her ability to be patient, move quickly and professionally in times of need, treat each student as an individual, and consistently give accurate and timely feedback.
Elizabeth employs strategies that encourage higher-level thinking. She encourages students to be independent; she provides student-centered learning opportunities; she acts as a facilitator; she creates a non-threatening learning environment; she is well organized; she possesses in-depth knowledge (both in English and in technology); she has broad interests; she thinks creatively; and she understands and meets the needs of her students. Elizabeth is always challenging students to go above and beyond what they think is possible. That’s one of the best things about Elizabeth: She always has the students at the heart of what she does.
From a Parent:
Not even on my kid’s worst day does she imagine herself incapable of a smile if she’s near her favorite teacher. Her teacher has a genuine interest in students’ lives, and she is someone the students trust. She respects the students as much as they do her and she believes in the young. Ms. J. teaches what textbooks do not. She breaks the rules, shattering the walls that typically divide adults from adolescents. She is an English teacher, and also the driving force behind the school newspaper and literary magazine, as well a coach on the girls’ cross country and track teams.
She is a woman unique to the education world. She expertly balances her roles as a leader, teacher, coach and a friend, making her a favorite among students and teachers alike. She’s just fun, personable, and relatable. When I pick up my child after sports practice, I’ll stop in Ms. J’s room. There is always an abundance of students, food, laughs, and music. In every aspect of her career, she has motivated and inspired students to be better people and writers. She is not only my daughter’s favorite teacher but she is also her mentor, coach, and friend.
From a Student:
(our nomination from one of Ms. J’s students was long enough to be an article itself! We hope she won’t mind if we highlight the best parts here):
Junior year, the English department gave us our course sheets for senior year. In order to write a top-notch college essay, I circled Advanced Composition, knowing a teacher could help me perfect it. Other than needing an English credit, I couldn’t think of another reason to take that class. I was unaware the teacher and the class would become my favorite. Walking into the 149B classroom on the first day of the year, I saw Ms. J was my teacher. She seemed crazy at first. She grabbed a calculator and punched in numbers to display the amount of pages she would have to read, comment on and grade each semester. I felt bad for her. But not that bad, because I knew she would improve my writing skills…and I was right.
Ms. J wasn’t showing us how many papers she had to read and grade to make us feel bad for her; instead, she was showing us that we need to write something interesting, engaging and outstanding so our papers stand out. You see, Ms. J. is always doing that. She’s always taking something and relating it to our writing. She’s always making us think, pushing us, and reminding us of our own voice. She’s always inspiring!
Ms. J. offered to correct papers as many times as we wanted, so I used her help to my advantage. I came in before and after school. I emailed her on the weekends. And each time, she got back to me so quickly! I couldn’t believe she did this. She took time out of her weekends to help me with my college essay, my advocacy letter, my summary reaction, my vocabulary quizzes, and even my AP Psychology paper. And I knew each time she corrected my paper, she was adding another number to her calculated total from the beginning of the year. But Ms. J. didn’t care—she wanted nothing more than for my writing to improve. She wanted to make sure I could succeed in my college writing courses.
My writing improved with each paper and I give the credit to Ms. J. I’m happy to say that several of my papers have been added to her student examples in the class packet. And now, as the juniors are again signing up for senior classes, I make sure and tell them to take Advanced Composition with Ms. J. I tell them not only is she funny, entertaining and interesting, but that she’s the most intelligent, inspiring and amazing teacher. I tell them she is my idol.
WOW! Thank you, Elizabeth, for your hard work and for the way you put your students first. You are a shining example of the kind of teachers we here at The Educator’s Room want to highlight for others to be inspired by – and we think YOU are a Stellar Educator!
Do you know a Stellar Educator in your building? If so, nominate them here. Every week a new educator is highlighted!