Over the coming weeks, Express will introduce you to our 18 Teacher of the Year finalists selected by teachers and parents from across our schools.
Read what teaching means to them.
Stephenie Waters – Charles Barrett Elementary School, fifth grade teacher
“To me teaching is creating a warm, safe environment where kids can learn about the world around them. It is not only imparting knowledge, but also providing opportunities for students to learn through experience, both theirs and mine. Teaching is making sure the kids know it’s safe to be who they are. It is also preparing them for times they will be tested: both in the traditional sense of academic testing, and tests of character and resilience. For me, teaching is a career of learning, where each and every day I learn something, whether sought after pedagogical knowledge or experiential learning.”
Ashley Sandoval – Cora Kelly School for Science, Math and Technology, PE teacher
“Teaching to me means creating the opportunity for students to grow their knowledge and skills to overcome any obstacles they may face in the future. As a health and physical education teacher, my teaching focuses on life, social and physical skills needed for a student to be a valuable, safe, and healthy citizen in a community. I want my students to know and understand that they can achieve greatness in any dream or passion they may have through life.”
Rosina Simmons – Francis C. Hammond Middle School, reading specialist
“Teaching youngsters requires passion, compassion, patience and vision. It is the Art and Science of learning by definition. Teachers must understand what is being taught and how to impart this knowledge. The Art of teaching is presenting it creatively to engage the interest of students. As a teacher, I must see the gifts my students possess that they have yet to realize. It’s called potential! Teaching is the ability to craft those skills or gifts so that it serves you and the community. Teaching is service to all mankind. Daily, we pour into the souls of our students life-long lessons, skill-based lessons, workforce lessons and citizenship. We teach our students to R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin sang. I recently shared this lesson with my students. Respect was a vocabulary word in Read 180 class. The lyrics by the Staples Singers ring true today, ‘Respect Yourself, If you don’t respect yourself ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot!’ Of course, the kids laughed when I sang the lyrics out loud.”
Felecia Stinson – William Ramsay Elementary School, third grade teacher
“For me, being a teacher encompasses many challenges and rewards. Teaching gives me great fulfillment knowing that I am a vessel impacting our youth in becoming leaders of the future. I feel the art of teaching should be about building relationships that will have an everlasting influence on students’ lives; knowing that they can achieve anything with hard work and a belief in themselves.Teaching for me means I have the opportunity to empower my students with the gifts of dedication, compassion, and commitment which helps them to grow as they learn.”