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Conrad Teacher Of The Year Award

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Conrad Teacher Of The Year Award

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Shomudro Gupta, Staff

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Recently, Mrs. Varga and Mrs. Weldin received the Teacher of the Year Award in light of their illustrious careers and sincere dedication to their craft. This is the 2nd year in a row that a social studies teacher won the award. I recently asked a set of questions to Mrs. Varga and Mrs. Weldin in order to learn more about the award itself as well as gain some insight into their work. Here are their responses.

 

Mrs. Varga

What do you think made you stand out among other candidates for this award? There are a lot of teachers in this building who are great candidates for this award. In general, I believe that teachers who are involved in extracurricular activities and support students in a variety of ways – attending sporting events, competitions, and performances or offering after and before school time for academic support – are the ones who stand out in the minds of students and parents.

 

How do you feel about winning? It is an honor yet humbling to be considered for Teacher of the Year. Honestly, it’s just nice to receive the appreciation. As teachers, we often pour our lives into our work and ensuring that students have the best learning experiences, but not everyone sees the time, effort, and emotions that go into that process. It’s truly moving when students, parents, and coworkers acknowledge your efforts. Still, when you see what other educators have accomplished – earning grants, establishing new programs, making lasting connections with the community – it reminds you that you can do so much more for your students and school.

 

What are some of the parameters for winning this award? How many do you think you’ve met? There is an application process involving the submission of a resume and a couple essays. My resume included leadership activities, such as curriculum writing, creating and presenting professional learning opportunities, coaching, and advising clubs. It also identified my teaching experience, awards I’ve received as an educator, and my involvement with the community. The essays addressed student engagement and my personal teaching philosophy as well as addressing issues in education. I met all the requirements, but I think that any good teacher would meet the basic requirements of being involved, giving back to the education community, and staying informed.

 

What are some of the highlights of your curriculum? I teach a variety of courses this year. I have taught 7th and 8th Grade Social Studies, Psychology, Forensics, AP Human Geography, AP Research, World History, Personal Finance, Contemporary Political Issues, and, soon, SAT Prep. There are all quite different, but there is a strong focus on social studies skills like reading proficiency, analysis, and interpretation. I love the history, geography, research, and writing components of these classes, and I believe that when a teacher loves their content it makes it more engaging for the students in his/her classroom.

 

What obligations do you have now that you have this new identity/responsibility? Do you feel as if you have to uphold your title? Because Conrad nominated me for this award, I have the possibility of being recognized as the district’s Teacher of the Year. This requires another application process but is more in-depth and personal. I don’t necessarily see this as part of my identity as much as I identify as a teacher in general. I do feel a slight urge I need to up my game a bit more, but I think I’ve felt that every year regardless of this recognition. I believe that is another trait good educators possess; you’re always looking to improve your teaching and as well as your students’ learning experiences.

 

With the impending advancement of technology, what are some of the ways you incorporate them into your curriculum? Do you think this played a factor? I appreciate the opportunities technology has afforded us in the classroom, but you can’t beat some hands-on activities. Technology is great for quick assessments, saving on paper, communicating with parents and other members of the external public, and making curriculum mobile. However, the experiences that stick in students minds are typically not conducted on a computer; they involve movement, creativity, collaboration, and self-realization. While I utilize Schoology, Google, and many apps and websites, the technology is only a vehicle for sharing information. Perhaps maintaining open channels of communication and ensuring that content is available online has helped, but I don’t think it’s the most important factor in consideration of this award. I truly believe it’s the personal connections and individual learning experiences students have in your classroom that make you a great teacher.

 

 

Mrs. Weldin

What do you think made you stand out among other candidates for this award?

 

  • My commitment to improving the community of our school as well as my involvement in school district and community committees to improve education and equitable practices for all students.

 

How do you feel about winning?

 

  • It was a great honor to represent Conrad where we have such amazing teachers,  but amazing to become a district finalist.

 

What are some of the parameters for winning this award? How many do you think you’ve met?

 

  • Classroom management, strong instructional skills, continuing your education, outreaching to your community, the ability to build relationships with students, etc.

 

What are some of the highlights of your curriculum?

 

  • In APUSH, the Civil War Battle for the School, the Cuban Missile Crisis stimulation as well as the First Strike Response Paper airplane battle. In the Personal Finance course, having applicable skills for students to actually use (college applications, how to invest money, filing taxes, LinkedIn profiles/resumes.)

 

What obligations do you have now that you have this new identity/responsibility? Do you feel as if you have to uphold your title?

 

  • There aren’t any official ones, but trying to spread what I’ve learned to novice and experienced teachers alike, while continuing to improve the community of Conrad.

 

With the impending advancement of technology, what are some of the ways you incorporate them into your curriculum? Do you think this played a factor?

 

  • Focusing on how technology can enhance lessons, while not necessarily replacing lessons. For instance, Pollev.com, kahoot.it, and for Personal Finance, NextGen Online Resources.

 

 

Shomudro Gupta, Staff

Hello. My name is Shomudro Gupta. I am currently a junior at Conrad Schools of Science. I am 17 years old. I first went here for middle school (6th Grade)...

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