Academic, emotional, and social issues abound for children who are poor readers. Children who are behind their peers in reading can struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. This can be magnified at the middle school level where students are developing their mindsets and making comparisons of themselves to others.
S. C. Lee Junior High first-year reading/language arts teacher Lydia Burse has not lost sight of her mission despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has posed, said principal Brian Jost.
“The best thing about Lydia is that she exemplifies hard work to the students. She communicates to them a sense of pride in their learning,” Jost said. “She has impressed me by her ability to juggle all the areas of teaching as new teacher.”
S. C. Lee Junior High utilizes a 100-minute block for teaching reading/language arts and the skills needed to provide for student engagement and learning were quickly acquired by Burse, Jost said.
“Lydia has been able to build rapport with her students by learning to understand them. She knows what the students’ weaknesses and strengths are in the academic fields that she teaches,” Jost said. “Lydia has also advocated for students regarding their needs.”
More than 85% of the curriculum is taught by reading. Reading is the skill by which students get information from books, computers, worksheets, and boards to learn math, science, literature, social studies and more. Low achievement in reading is also the common denominator in school discipline, attendance and dropout problems, and juvenile crime.
“Lydia stands out among our new hires because of the support she brings not just to the campus, but to her students,” Jost said. “Our new teachers have all been beneficial to the district, but Lydia stood out by how quickly she has learned and immersed herself into the educational process and the reading/language arts curriculum.”
Jost also credited the sixth grade teacher with supporting campus initiatives, willingness to learn and being able to deliver the education content of reading/language arts to students, developing a partnership in the classroom both with students and parents, collaborating with peers and co-workers, and providing a hybrid model of instruction so that both on-campus and at-home learners are able to master the core content of reading/language arts.
Burse was selected as the 2021 S. C. Lee Junior High Rookie Teacher of the Year.