By Aaron Soliz and David Yu, Clarion Staff
Annually, within several regions in California, the Educator of the Year award is distributed to a teacher, counselor, administrator, or other official positions who displayed adept instructive skills throughout the preceding year. Only eleven individuals throughout the state are given the award. This year, our very own foreign language teacher Ms. Joan Taylor was presented with the Educator of the Year award, and we were fortunate to be able to talk with her and ask a few questions about teaching.
Many students often forget that teachers are people too and have their own lives and history. When I asked Ms.Taylor to tell us a bit about herself she responded, “I didn’t always want to be a teacher. Originally I wanted to be a lawyer and a dancer. I went to law school, but then I wanted to teach instead. I fell in love with teaching. I’ve also worked as a translator.”
As many students forget teachers are people too, and they were once students like us. “I remember when I was in school, I used to get angry when the teacher couldn’t control the classroom. And I feel strongly the need to keep kids on accountable. And the students can find comfort knowing that I am in charge.”
Ms.Taylor has been teaching for eleven years, all of those at Kennedy.
Eleven years of teaching is long enought that is only natural that Ms. Taylor’s teaching style should change quite a bit over the years.“Believe it or not, I’m more understanding. More creative. I’m able to get work out of my students without them realizing it. I’m less mean. I think that a teacher should teach a while to teach well. Few teachers can expertly teach well in their first years. But over the years, in about five or six years, teachers can get over certain grooves. And I feel that its important to love teaching throughout the teaching career.”
During her time at Kennedy, Ms.Taylor has developed her own style of teaching, which is different from many other teachers. “I am very demanding. I don’t allow students to disconnect from me. I try to build a relationship with the classroom. It’s like a community. I give lots of feedback back to my students and I’m always on top of grades. I grade a test and they know what score they received the day after. I strive to love teaching and I believe that everyone is capable of learning.” She added, “I am strict but can make the classroom fun too.”