Teacher Appreciation

As part of the SMART Exemplary Educators program, they have an area called Gold Star SEE powered by Influitive.  This system is a means to share articles, post challenges/activities; basically a means of engagement within their program.  Since this week is teacher appreciation week, they posted a challenge today to think back on the teacher who influenced you the most and thank them by writing a blog post, they gave some guidance on your post: talk about when and where, what was the setting like, how did this teacher reach their students, what would it have been like if this teacher had access to SMART Solutions, etc.  Here is what I wrote.

   In 1998, I entered the 8th grade.  I was a student at Saint Williams in Philadelphia PA.  At that time, the school was kindergarten through eighth grade, with four classes for each grade level.

Entering the classroom for the first time, I was greeted by a short (now I was quite tall for my age, especially as an 8th grader) Irish nun with a huge smile.  Sister Irene Kervick was the kind of teacher any auditory learner would love.  She knew how to tell a story; keeping her audience on the edge of their seats.  She taught with humorous anecdotes and threw in jeopardy style facts to make her lessons more meaningful than what the text plainly described.  Did you know, every year about 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced; my teacher did!  When studying the building blocks of matter and people too, she shared that little fact with us.  She would have projected the parts of an atom for us to manipulate.

To image technology, like a SMART Board, in her classroom is interesting.  Depending on the placement of the board, the students would have been the ones operating it, just because of her height.  She would have had the ability to include visuals with her stories.  Her engaging style of teaching would have been complemented by the interaction she could have brought to Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Religion, etc.

   One of her best qualities as a teacher was how Sister Irene made it a point that everyone of her students felt important, special to her and heard; which in a classroom of 32 can be quite challenging.  I would like to think that I bring that into my teaching.  She had a knack for leaving you wanting to hear more.  School was fun.  I was excited to go to school each day and that’s because of Sister Irene.

After typing the post I went and did a search for Sister Irene.  Unfortunately she passed in July 2014.  When I was in high school, my sister had Sister Irene.  This did give me the opportunity to go back and see her then.  I was able to tell her how she was my favorite teacher, but never had the opportunity to show her the impact she made on my career now.

Sister Irene 1938-2014

Sister Irene 1938-2014

This may be cross posted on the Edcompass Blog and if it does I will link to it here.


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