2012 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year Finalist
Vicenza Middle School, Vicenza, Italy
7th Grade Language Arts and Forensics
Fortunately for Angela Wilson, she didn’t let a thoughtless comment from her cooperating teacher while student teaching change her developing philosophy of what she wanted to be: an educator.
As she explains, “One day this teacher said to me with tears streaming down her cheeks, ‘Angela, you have to stop. You are making me look bad. You simply will not be able to keep this up when you start teaching full-time. No one can put so much energy and creativity into every single lesson. ‘ Although these words, Angela says, shattered her confidence at this time, she managed to get past the experience to keep moving forward then and now with planning and executing every lesson with as much creativity, energy and passion as possible. As she says, “To give anything less is an insult to the teaching profession, to me, and most importantly to the students. Since I believe ALL students can succeed, it is my role to meet students at their levels, discover their interests, and through dynamic, creative daily lessons, inspire their learning.
The passion for teaching fuels this seventh grade language arts and forensics teacher’s creativity on a daily basis. “I have never in my life said ‘How can I kill the next ten minutes until the bell rings?’ Angela explains, adding that, “every minute of my day is valued and analyzed so optimal learning can take place. I believe that every lesson can and should be exciting, engaging and meaningful, and I am not afraid to sing, dance and leap across the room if necessary.”
These lessons, for Angela’s students, can take the form of everything from learning parts of speech through song and band creation through cooperative grouping of student, which then led them to create their own American Idolinspired “Grammar Idol” show, to encouraging her students to accept the challenge of each writing a 10,000 word novel in three weeks.
Her principal cites Angela’s great teaching skills, coupled with the fact that she creates a lively classroom setting where students are fully engaged in a differentiated environment, as the key to her students’ gains by year’s end. “Mrs. Wilson’s can do it attitude and flexibility have contributed to her students’ success, and her motivation to go the extra mile is her best asset, “ he says. “Mrs. Wilson has cultivated an atmosphere of cooperation and excellence among stakeholders that has resulted in effective teaching and learning for our emerging school and community. The enthusiasm that Angela exudes with her students, co-teachers, parents, and our community is highly visible, and she possesses superb human relations skills, using these in leading our school in accomplishing our mission of preparing students for the 21st century global society. “ He goes on to say, “Her day to day leadership and support of our mission to empower military children to learn, behave, and make responsible and informed decisions in support of 21st century learning, in an ever-changing digital world, has been invaluable. And her student-centered approach makes her program a best practice model to replicate across the Department of Defense Education Activity, with her working tirelessly to improve student performance and achievement.”CN1120-6103-1214