“It’s not always what you teach, but how you teach it. The love and joy behind your teaching is perhaps the strongest impression you will leave with your students.” – Amy Parsons
Teacher of the Year Amy Parsons Shares Her Enthusiasm for Learning with Students
Amy Parsons, a sixth grade language arts, reading and social studies teacher from Tropical Elementary, won this year’s noteworthy title of BPS’ Teacher of the Year. During the ABC Awards Gala (Applauding Brevard’s Champions), hosted by Brevard Schools Foundation, Brevard Public Schools recognized and revealed the winners of various categories including the Teacher of the Year.
Amy, who has been a teacher for 12 years, has served as Tropical’s sixth grade team leader, social studies contact, a member of BPS’ VIPS team, the Florida standards team, and as a peer coach for other teachers. Amy utilizes her excellent public speaking skills to lead professional development activities, during which she promotes new learning community strategies in the classroom.
“I wanted to teach from a very young age, but I had a great job at KSC,” Amy said. “So I didn’t pursue teaching until my own children were born, then I returned to school for my Master’s and teaching certification.”
Amy was born in Brevard, at Wuesthoff Hospital in Rockledge. She is a graduate of Cocoa High School and although she moved around with her husband’s job for a few years, they settled back here in 2003.
“I became a teacher because I have always loved children and I love learning (I frequently tell them they teach me more than I do them!) I believe our children are our future and being with children brings me great joy.”
Amy explains her teaching philosophy as being focused on the heart of the child, each individual child, and their educational needs, while building a class community. “I try to become aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each student and then develop the strengths and nurture the weaknesses,” she said. “I must be assertive and creative in order to motivate the students and have a sense of understanding of the difficult circumstances faced by today’s youth.”
She makes her classroom a safe and comfortable learning environment and builds a strong class community. She utilizes cooperative group lessons and differentiating instruction to meet students where they are and assisting them with what they need.
“I inspire my students to be inquisitive, dig deeper, and then share knowledge with each other,” Amy said. “My belief is that if you challenge them with higher rigor in reading, they will not only accept the challenge, they will surpass your expectations.”
Amy has also worked with teachers in Belize while on a mission trip. “That was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Amy said. “Seeing the passion of a teacher who has next to no materials, very old chalkboards, 30-plus students in a 14 x 14 room, block buildings with no A/C and nearly 100 percent humidity in the rain forest is eye-opening and humbling.”
Amy admits she isn’t a teacher for accolades like the Teacher of the Year award; making a positive impact in a child’s life is really the greatest blessing according to Amy, who is also the mom of four adult children and has two granddaughters. She also volunteers with her church, Georgianna United Methodist Church, including cooking and coordinating meals for the youth program and serving as a leader for local and international mission trips.
“Nothing makes me happier than watching students grow both emotionally and academically and seeing an ‘ah ha’ moment on their faces when they light up with new ideas.”
This article appears in the May 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living.
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