Nineteen MSTA members were among the 35 teachers named 2019-20 Regional Teachers of the Year as part of the Missouri Teacher of the Year program through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Each Wednesday, a new profile will be shared online celebrating these outstanding educators. You can see profiles of all 19 MSTA members honored as Regional Teachers of the Year in the Fall 2019 issue of School & Community.

School building: Robidoux Middle School
School district: Saint Joseph School District
Grade/subject taught: 8/Social Studies
Years teaching: 9 years teaching

What is one of your goals for this year?

One of my goals for this year is to be more consistent in contacting parents for both positive and corrective behavior. 

Describe yourself without using the word “teacher” or “educator.”

I am a risk taker in the classroom bringing history alive by connecting current events and our nation’s past.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My philosophy or beliefs about teaching probably look different than most teachers. I believe in two different mindsets when it comes to education.  Many students, and quite honestly many teachers, have a “fixed mindset.” Those with this mindset believe that their future is already carved in stone and are told how to think, when to act, and what to do. With this mindset, students are restricted in their abilities and are not allowed to think outside the box. Students that are trained to have this mindset have one goal: look smart! Everything students with a fixed mindset do is for confirmation and every situation has the same theme: If I do this will I fail or will I succeed, will I look smart or look dumb, will I feel like a winner or a loser. It is my philosophy to avoid this mindset in the classroom. What I attempt to do in the classroom is teach students a “growth mindset.” Those with this mindset believe that your qualities are cultivated through effort. Everyone differs and through application and experience, students can change and grow. With a growth mindset, students will begin to learn from their failures, begin to try new things, and think outside the box instead of coloring within the lines. This mindset encourages students to overcome deficiencies, choose tasks that stretch them, and find opportunities that will make them better instead of proving how great they are. 

What is something on your bucket list?

My number one bucket list item is a two-three week vacation to Scotland and play many of the Open Championship Golf courses including St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Royal Birkdale, Muirfield, and Turnberry.  Also, while there we would attend the Open Championship on Saturday and Sunday.