When you think of a first-year teacher, it’s often easy to imagine a person experiencing a wealth of emotions. Teaching is not an easy field to excel in, and it’s often challenging because it’s ever-changing. This year, that seems even more true than in the past as a result of COVID-19.
Copperas Cove High School freshman English teacher, Amanda Martin, just completed her first year of teaching in the education field and proved her ability to adapt and her willingness to adjust.
“Ms. Martin taught several courses where students received accommodations, and adjustments were made each time a roster changed. Instead of complaining, she sought out advice and focused on resolving the issue,” Principal Jimmy Shuck said. “She went above and beyond to account for each student, learning new ways to scaffold and support their learning.
“During planning, she considered all learners and always strived to provide differentiated instruction. When students transitioned from virtual learning, she welcomed them into the classroom and helped them adjust.”
When you visit Martin’s classroom, it is easy to see how her personality positively impacts learning. During lessons, she can often be seen modeling skills for students with a unique combination of content expertise and personal flair.
She provides images and artifacts to give background knowledge. She makes explicit connections between what students are learning and the real world, and she consistently monitors students to provide feedback.
Her energy — whether it’s the first period of the day or the last — never wavers, ensuring that all students benefit from the best she has to give them each day.
“There is also a lot to be said for Ms. Martin’s work ethic,” Shuck said. “She often arrives early and stays late. She fills in for others when they need relief, and she works hard to contribute to her professional learning community.
“Ms. Martin is creative and often brings fresh ideas to colleagues, willingly sharing while also being genuinely open to feedback. Her ongoing contribution to her team keeps the inventive spark alive and encourages both collaboration and community.”
Martin inspires learning through her attention to detail and focus on student growth. She is a planner, and her efforts to ensure student learning mean that her classroom consistently employs a gradual release of responsibility. She models her thinking for students and provides clear examples.
She allows time for practice and peer collaboration, and she makes sure there are opportunities for independent practice that build confidence in her learners.
“One of the things that is impressive about this first-year teacher is her ability to reflect on her teaching practices and the way they impact students,” Shuck said. “Her teaching style inspires learning through best practices while also prompting student buy-in with her animated personality. Her upbeat attitude and willingness to help students makes her a valuable addition to our teaching staff.”
Martin was chosen as the Copperas Cove High School 2021 Rookie Teacher of the Year.