Rose Hill Elementary second-grade teacher Shaina Hutson was leading guided reading groups with her class of 23 on the morning of December 8 when she was abruptly interrupted by her colleagues.
Without warning, a group of administration and faculty from the city of Reynoldsburg schools, including Superintendent Melvin Brown, Academic Director Jocelyn Cosgrave and Rose Hill Principal Damicka Bates, rushed into the room. class by waving pom poms, making noise and causing distraction.
The group luckily informed Hutson that she had been chosen this month as one of the “Rock Star Professors” and was there to share the news with her and her class.
âI was very surprised. It was a very humbling experience for me,â Hutson said. âI didn’t expect that at all.â
The district rewards up to six teachers as a Rock Star teacher each month at the elementary, middle and high school levels, Cosgrave said. When a teacher is chosen, a group of administration and faculty interrupt their class for a few minutes, often unexpectedly, to break the news to everyone.
âThey are very surprised when we come in,â said Cosgrave, who said he started the program several years ago.
First-grade teacher Erin Daniels was the second teacher honored at Rose Hill on December 8.
On December 9, the district also bestowed Rock Star Teacher honors on French Run Elementary third-grade teacher Amanda Mucci and French Run intervention specialist Amy Booth.
âThese teachers are rock stars because not only are they great with our students, but they go out of their way to help the building staff,â said French Run director David Schottner.
Rock Star Teacher candidates are nominated by colleagues and chosen based on their ability to implement a list of selected criteria, Cosgrave said.
This year, Cosgrave said recipients are selected based on how they implement more in-depth learning strategies and portrait of a skills graduate. She said Hutson and Daniels did a great job with this.
âTeachers who do it regularly, and they try new things, and they keep the growing mindset, and they fail, they can be nominated or chosen for this award,â Cosgrave said.
After breaking the news, the awards team takes photos of the Rock Star teachers and their students, and the district features them on social media. Hutson and Daniels received a T-shirt and certificate as well as trinkets such as stress balls, mugs, lip balm and pens as part of the honor of joining the coveted “Rock Stars” group. “.
Daniels said she asked her students to build marshmallow throwers that morning as part of a STEM activity when the awards ceremony entered the room.
At first, she said she thought they were doing classroom rounds where the administration observes what students are doing and what they are involved in, which she says is common.
âI was actually excited when they walked in,â Daniels said, considering that they would be watching his students do a fun and engaging STEM activity. âI was like, ‘Oh, that’ll be a good thing to see. “
âBut when they came in, they brought pom poms, and I was like, ‘Why were they bringing pom poms? “”
It was then that Cosgrave announced to the class that Daniels had been made a rock star teacher.
âI was floored,â Daniels said. âI didn’t even know they were coming to see me. I thought they were coming just to see my students. It was such an honor.
Daniels said the Marshmallow Launcher STEM activity is an example of the type of learning activities the district is looking for in their classrooms and reflects their commitment to implementing these learning strategies with their students. .
Working together to build marshmallow throwers, Daniels students weren’t just having fun while learning STEM skills, she said. This activity was also aimed at fostering collaborative skills, social and emotional skills, problem solving, and effective communication with others to accomplish a task.
âWe integrate this into all of our academic lessons,â Daniels said. âEvery lesson we teach can also and should also incorporate a lesson where they learn to just be a good person, and someone we want to send out into society as a graduate that encompasses all of these skills that they have learned from. kindergarten to the end. up to high school. ”
Hutson said she also works to incorporate these strategies into her lessons and activities.
âAt the elementary level, it’s really about getting out of the academic world and teaching the whole student,â she said. âI try to help them understand to the next level where they can be communicators and be successful in our society.
“I try to instill these life skills outside of academics and make them understand that their voice matters and that they have a choice of who they are in our society.”
Hutson said his students were delighted to match the energy of the awards team as they entered the classroom and started the brief festivities.
âIt drove my students to the next level: ‘This is great; it’s good. Join us, âshe said.
âShe makes us learn new things every day and she is very loving,â said Zachary Benedix, one of Hutson’s students.
Daniels said her students did not react immediately but became excited when they learned that she was being named a rock star teacher.
âIt didn’t bother them much (at first),â she said. “But when they found out I was getting an award, they were very excited for me.”
âI love it when she teaches me new things and she teaches us the best way to treat others,â said Dasanei Williams, one of Daniels’ students.
Hutson and Daniels said being named a rock star teacher was also special because it recognized their work as educators, they said.
âIt was very reassuring for the ‘why’ of why I do what I do every day,â Hutson said. âSome days are very difficult and can be urgent, especially after emerging from a pandemic and now (that) we are all back. I do it everyday.
âI actually got a little emotional, just because it’s always nice to be recognized, and all the educators are going through a tough time after the pandemic and trying to teach some students who have been home for a long time. some time, âDaniels said. âSo just getting some recognition really mattered to me, and I’m just honored to be working at such an amazing school. ”
âWe want to make sure that we reward those on our staff who try something new and who are brave enough to do it and get started,â said Cosgrave. “(This is) just a little sign of our appreciation for the hard work they do.”