Outstanding teachers have passion. They have a drive that permeates both their teaching and their interactions with students on a daily basis. That passion is evident in the rapport they build with their students, the patience they exhibit when they’re frustrated, and the tireless efforts to create new, exciting ways for students to learn. Outstanding teachers use that passion and rapport with their students to help them take ownership of their own learning, set long and short term goals, and celebrate the successes, no matter how small.
Outstanding teachers do what they love every day; they bring effective, invigorating lessons to cultivate learning and help students shine. What makes me an outstanding teacher is that I have that passion. It shows through my lessons, through the changes I make to improve myself as an educator, and through the rapport I build with my students. And while it may not be evident at the end of a long day or an even longer week, I come back each day with renewed excitement: today is a new day to help my students shine.
Having my students shine permeates my entire teaching practice. My classroom is framed with bright colors to catch the attention of my bright students. Each week, I tell my students, “You are all amazing, and you are all GOING TO COLLEGE!” They laugh, but I believe it, and I want them to believe it, too. I push my students academically, because I know they can handle it. And at the very end of the day, we have a sign off. At first, I was the only one who said it. But gradually, as the year continues, I say it less and less, because the students say it for me. Our sign off is, “Shine on, and have a beautiful day.” I have the word SHINE written on the top of my door. They know it’s not just words. It is inspiration; I want them to go forward from my room as the best versions of themselves. They are amazing when
they walk in, and I want them to leave knowing that they are amazing wherever they go.
The reward of teaching is the learning itself. It is seeing the “lightbulb moment,” where you know your kids have gained understanding. It is reading student work at midnight and smiling because they wrote some of the best papers you have ever had the pleasure of reading. The reward is intrinsic; it’s knowing that I helped my students become the best versions of themselves.
The iLearn Teacher of the Year Program honors excellence in classroom education and provides a forum to showcase many outstanding educators whose efforts and example have inspired their students, their colleagues, and the communities they serve.
iLearn Schools Teacher of the Year is the highest honor that iLearn Schools can bestow upon a teacher. This program annually recognizes and rewards teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.
Every spring each campus selects a Teacher of the Year and amongst them, one iLearn Schools Teacher of the Year is selected. The one teacher that is selected as the iLearn Schools Teacher of the Year represents iLearn Schools in the Governor’s Teacher of the Year and the New Jersey Charter School Association Teacher of the Year programs.