Educator of the Year Contest

April 25, 2011
By Christiana13 BRONZE, Wilmington, Delaware
Christiana13 BRONZE, Wilmington, Delaware
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

According to Dan Rather, “The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth”. This quote illustrates why I choose Mrs. Visser to be my Educator of the Year nominee. She coached my Lego league team from 7th through 8th grade. Although Mrs. Visser has many admirable qualities, I chose her because she encouraged our team in challenging circumstances, she helped me use my gift of leadership more effectively, and she transformed difficult and tedious tasks into invigorating and exciting experiences. Our Lego League team came away from her coaching more mature and confident.

Our Lego League team faced many challenges in the construction and programming of our robot. Despite our frustrations, Mrs. Visser considered any problem a possibility for growth. She achieved this by taking the trouble at hand and turning it into a learning experience. Analyzing the problems with us, she made suggestions on how to correct the problem although she had little to no experience in robotics herself. One week before our competition the robot that we had designed was still malfunctioning which stressed the team significantly. Nervous and discouraged we needed her ability to paint a picture of our success. Thankfully Mrs. Visser helped us through our predicament. Due to the motivation received, my team preformed very well inspite of the malfunctioning. When our robot did not cooperate, she encouraged us to strive for our best, never allowing us to dwell on failure but focusing on our successes.

Participating in Lego League can sometimes be a tedious affair. Unless one is a computer fanatic, the work with complicated computer programs does not always prove stimulating. By emphasizing research and team building exercises, Mrs. Visser always found ways to make duties into games. When programming our robot to complete tasks, she devised fun competitions and brainstorming sessions that made the work enjoyable and exciting. Right before the competition Mrs. Visser considered making cards for the judges and volunteers we would meet. She brought supplies, and we fashioned cards. Creatively, she also thought it would be exciting for us to design t-shits and write our own logo and names that we could wear at the competition; We made awesome t-shits.

My mother always tells me that a person’s greatest strength also is their greatest weakness which appears to be true for me. Mrs. Visser and I have a similar personality. We are both director types and want to take charge. In three areas of the Lego League competition each team must solve a problem or design or construct a model in response to the problem which can lead to many disagreements. Our team consisted of three sets of sibling which created interesting dynamics. When practicing, I would always try to take charge of the situation, but it was hard for me to listen to and seek out the ideas of all my teammates. Once we were asked to build a structure out of uncooked spaghetti; it was supposed to be able to support a balloon. While I wanted to build the structure my way, Mrs. Visser helped me see the strength that every team member brought to the group. Through her encouragement I practiced listening to everyone’s ideas while moving the group towards the completion of the tasks at hand. As coach, she modeled this inclusive participatory style of leadership.

Mrs. Visser was encouraging, made things extremely fun, and helped me grow and mature as a person. Most of all she gave me a visual image of how to realize leadership in my own life. Tugging and pushing me along she showed me how a good leader must be a good listener and servant of the team. Since she went above the call of duty as a coach, she modeled leadership for me. Therefore I am excited to nominate her for this year’s Educator of the Year title.

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