Adele Winston was recently selected as Substitute Teacher of the Year. In this Q5, she talks about the honor.

Adele Winston was recently selected as Substitute Teacher of the Year. In this Q5, she talks about the honor.

1. Adele, what was your first thought when you found out you had been selected Substitute Teacher of the Year in Leavenworth?
My initial thoughts were "me-really?!" I had no idea why the ladies were there, but to present me with this honor- for the first time in my life I was speechless.

2. How long have you been in the education profession and why did you want to be a teacher?
I taught for 36 years. My first nine years were in Chicago, Bloomington, Illinois and Heidelberg, Germany.  My last 27 years were here in Leavenworth.
Twenty-four years at North-Broadway-Lincoln which is now Earl M. Lawson.  One year at David Brewer. My last two years were at Anthony Elementary School.  
My sister was a teacher in Chicago, and I had the opportunity to observe her.  I loved the connection she had with her students and felt that I would also love to inspire and encourage children. I returned to college and changed my major from nursing to teaching.

3. What do you think makes you a popular teacher and what can a teacher do to make learning easier and more fun for students?
I wouldn't say being popular is key. The key is showing students through your actions (not words) and following through with what you say — that is key. 
Once you show them that you care and are willing to learn their world, the popularity will come.
In my 36 years of teaching (and now as a substitute, a.k.a. "guest teacher") I constantly research to see what that particular age group likes or dislikes. 
You have to be able to speak their language, show them that you care with respect and the respect will be returned.

4. Why is it important for a teacher to find ways to stimulate students’ curiosity so they will seek knowledge on their own?
It is important for students to see and to know that their world is important to you. 
When they see you doing things or speaking their language, they will start to ask you questions, then is when you will realize that they are interested and they will seek more information on their own.

5. What advice would you give to people who are just beginning their first year as teachers?
You have to get to know each student on a personal level.  It takes time, but in the end it is worth it.  Stay connected with their parents via emails, text messages, or phone calls. This needs to be done weekly, or at least bi-weekly. 
Be stern letting them know who you are from day one. 
No matter what is said, stay stern and over time, they will see that you truly care. 

— Rimsie McConiga