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What’s Your Story?

May 11, 2015

All teachers have stories

President Obama presents the 2015 National Teacher of the Year award to Shanna Peeples on April 29 at the White House

President Obama presents the 2015 National Teacher of the Year award to Shanna Peeples on April 29 at the White House

It is always interesting to me to hear and read teacher’s stories. I know that each of you have one and your journeys to teaching are individual. Some are inspired by parents, siblings, environments, and listening to other stories.

Last week the 2015 National Teacher of the Year was announced at a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. Shanna Peeples, a high school English teacher, from Amarillo, Texas who works with impoverished immigrant students is the recipient.

Growing up, Shannon’s story was very difficult. She now helps her students face their challenges as a teacher had guided her. Her teacher Mrs. Belton taught her that it was “possible to read and write my way into another life.”

Below is taken from an article in neaToday written by Brenda Alvarez.

Peeples uses that same lesson for her students to give them a voice and an opportunity to tell their story, helping them to grow academically and emotionally. For example, many of her students have gone off to Ivy League schools or have been awarded prestigious scholarships. Additionally, the number of students taking the AP English 4 exam has gone from zero to 30 in the past five years. Her students reach into the community, too, working on local public health campaigns or conducting social science research on the health benefits of gratitude.

Peeples says that teachers are the beacon, stability, and the source of inspiration for many students.

“So many teachers, like those behind me, stay after school to listen to our students, go to their games or concerts, or just create a safe place where they can draw because we are stable, dependable adults,” she says. “Schools and their teachers are a stabilizing force in society and a fierce promoter and protector of our democracy…[they] must always stay open because teachers doors stay open, saying come in, lets learn, let’s hope, lets begin dreaming.”

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