“It makes me want to continue to reach every student in my class. It makes me want to continue to do activities that motivate my students. It makes me want to be a teacher until I cannot be a teacher any more.” That’s how Jennifer Williams described her reaction to being named the Phenomenal Friday Teacher of the Week at Milford Elementary School September 22.
Although she has taught Samuel for less than two months, Williams already stands out to her fifth grade student as his favorite elementary school teacher. In a surprise announcement over the school morning news, Samuel explained why Williams deserves the Teacher of the Week award.
“She is nice and very helpful. She helps other teachers,” Samuel said. “She makes me feel special, and she is an awesome teacher.”
Williams, who has only been teaching fifth grade for two years, didn’t expect Samuel to choose her because he hadn’t been in her class that long. However, when she realized that she was the Phenomenal Teacher Samuel was talking about, she began to cry.
“When he started talking about me on the news, I was just shocked and in awe and could not believe he said my name,” Williams revealed. “I am very honored and blessed. I love my job, and I would not want to be doing anything else.”
Williams captured Samuel’s attention with one of the hands-on projects she introduced to the class.
“My favorite project was the sugar cube project where you color sugar cubes with marker and put them in a bag and shake them up,” Samuel recalled with a smile. “It came out blue powder. I liked that project.”
While grinning at Samuel, Williams confessed that she knows “Sam” loves science, and she is working to get him to have the same love of learning for math. The Phenomenal Teacher thinks the key to unlocking a child’s love for learning is finding their “niche.”
“I love seeing kids learn new things,” Williams said as she explained why she teaches. “Whenever you do find their niche, what they like to do, and you use that in your teaching, you can see kids open up and love to learn. Once they love to learn, it can continue, hopefully, throughout the rest of their schooling.”
Recognizing what motivates Samuel, she told him that he could look forward to a lot more hands-on activities in her class.
“I feel that when they are involved instead of listening to me teach, they learn much more than I could ever just tell them,” she added.
Finding what motivates a student sometimes requires lots of patience, and that’s exactly what Williams provides. Showing respect is an important part of her teaching strategy, too.
Williams doesn’t really think of teaching as a job. She loves it too much.
“I love my class. I love my kids. This is what I’m supposed to do,” she beamed.
Williams worked at a larger elementary school before coming to Milford two years ago. She likes Milford’s culture and small class size. At Milford, she doesn’t just love teaching her students; she loves the entire school.
“I love that I know the names of almost every child in the hallway no matter what grade, kindergarten through fifth grade,” she said smiling. “I develop relationships because I have a smaller class size. I have 17 students. So, it is much easier to develop a personal relationship with each student. The staff here is the friendliest staff I have ever encountered at any school. I feel we are here for the same purpose, which is to achieve student success.”
Watch the video of the Phenomenal Friday celebration at Milford Elementary: goo.gl/CGjddz
Learn about what makes the other Phenomenal Friday Teachers of the Week stand out at their schools: http://goo.gl/Eg31Wc