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Logo: Newport News Public Schools

Model Teachers: Middle School Science

Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Sabrina Leahy
Content: Middle School Science
School: Hines Middle
Years Taught: 2

 

What do you most love about teaching?
I am a science teacher.  But I value being a teacher of students above being a teacher of science.  As middle school is such a transitional time in students’ lives, a teacher at this level is sometimes as much a teacher of life, personal skills, and how to be an admirable human being…as we are teachers of the subject matter.  I have found that what I most love about teaching is this opportunity to help students succeed in various aspects of their lives, not solely the subject matter I’m assigned to teach.  The very best thing I can do as a teacher is help create an environment where students feel safe, secure, and confident to be themselves, to take risks, and to fail and grow from their mistakes and experiences. Middle school students are amidst a time of personal discovery and development, and need opportunities to not only have positive behaviors modeled, but also explore and engage in experiences that allow them to discover their strengths and talents.  I’m honored to get to be part of this leg of the journey.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
As I tell my students, knowledge is good by itself, but it’s even more wonderful and powerful when shared with others!  I credit my success as a teacher to all the valuable ideas, perspectives, and mentorship I have received from countless other effective educators over the years.  Teaching is a team effort and in order to work to help every child be successful, effective practices must be shared, and we must learn and grow together.

Why do you love working in NNPS?
It makes it easy to love and excel at what you do when you have such diversely talented students, wonderful colleagues willing to learn and grow alongside you, and a huge network of supporters who want nothing more than the very best for the students we have the pleasure of educating.  That’s exactly what I’ve found in NNPS.

 


Model TeacherName: Michelle Jackson
Content: Middle School Science
School: Gildersleeve Middle
Years Taught: 8

 

What do you most love about teaching?
I love to watch our students as they learn new concepts and teach each other.  My classroom is a no-judgment zone where students are allowed to make mistakes.  Mistakes are encouraged as they learn to never give up and try another approach to solve a problem.  Because of this, students discover what they are able to do on their own.  Their excitement as they find solutions to these problems is the reason I teach.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I have been fortunate to learn from some of the most amazing teachers.  Inspiration has come from my cooperating teachers to my current teammates.  I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences with other teachers as my mentors and coworkers have worked with me.

Why do you love working in NNPS?
NNPS allows me to think outside the box and try unconventional methods in order to reach my students.  My administrators encourage me to try new things.  I have access to new technology and use it frequently with my students.  NNPS has allowed me opportunities, equipment, and field trips to facilitate my students’ learning.

 


Model TeacherName: Lyn Sawyer
Content: Middle School Science
School: Passage Middle
Years Taught: 5

 

What do you most love about teaching?
I love connecting with students.  I enjoy getting to watch and guide them as they develop socially and intellectually.  Within my content, I love connecting students to nature and the science that explains the world around them.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
Teaching is challenging in so many ways and support is essential! With the support of my fellow teachers, my first year formulated the foundation from which I developed stronger classroom management and organized lesson plans for each subsequent year.  I will continue to build on this with their support.

What two words best describe you as a teacher?  Why?
The two words that best describe me as a teacher are Frizzle and forgiving!  I say Frizzle as in Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus.  I think it’s important to love your content and be yourself.  Your students will notice and appreciate both assets!  I also believe forgiving is important because without forgiveness I’d get stuck on human nature’s erroneous ways… whether they be my own or someone else’s.  We all deserve a second chance!

Logo: NNPS Curriculum Department