“It is because of you that I went to college! It’s because of you that I can write!” That’s how Judi Faison’s former students greet her when they see her in the community. They rush to see her, to hug her. They want to say, “thank you.” Although the students graduated from her class more than a decade ago, they still remember Faison and the impact she had on their lives.
The 17-year veteran teacher is still empowering Green Acres Elementary School students to achieve success. Fifth grader Stacy told her entire school over the morning announcements why she selected Faison as the Phenomenal Friday Teacher of the Week.
“She was always there to help me,” Stacy said. “She is a big part of my life.”
As Stacy talked about her first grade teacher, Faison had a flashback to the year when Stacy was in her class.
“When Stacy would struggle and get upset, I would pull my chair right up beside her and say, ‘Hi Stacy, I’m a new student. Can you help me?’ and we would work together,” Faison recalled.
That’s one of Faison’s techniques to boost student confidence. She tells the students, like Stacy, they can do anything. Although the majority of her students are English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, she doesn’t let that stop them from succeeding. While in her class, Stacy soared through several reading levels.
Hearing Stacy explain why she chose her first grade teacher as the Phenomenal Friday Teacher of the Week told Faison that she is still impacting students. She was proud because she had told Stacy she could do anything, and she knew Stacy was ready to move on to middle school and could indeed do anything she put her mind to.
Faison treats all her students like her children, which she thinks is part of the reason she is successful as a teacher, but it isn’t the only reason.
“I like to sing songs and draw pictures,” Faison said enthusiastically. “I make up songs for everything in my room. I speak English to them and Spanish. I write the words and help them sound it out. I always draw a picture to go with the words.”
She compared watching the Green Acres students grow up to watching a garden grow. She loves to see the students’ skills mature through the years. She likes to brag about her former students who have won writing contests.
The Phenomenal Friday Teacher of the Week is looking forward to taking her students out to explore the new school garden at Green Acres after it is built in November.
“The kids need to be outside,” she said. “I think the kids going outside will get a lot of hands-on experience. They will learn about the weather. I think they will all love it because they are going to get their hands dirty and get involved.”
Listening to Faison talk about singing and dancing in her classroom, it’s clear how much the veteran teacher loves her job. For Faison, loving her students and her job is a must.
“Once you give the kids love, they will do anything for you,” Faison explained. You have to always have a smile on your face. It doesn’t matter if you were on the way to school and almost had an accident. You can’t let that show on your face. You have to be happy.”
Watch video of the Phenomenal Friday celebration at Green Acres Elementary: goo.gl/1zcpD2
Learn about what makes the other Phenomenal Friday Teachers of the Week stand out at their schools: http://goo.gl/Eg31Wc