Despite lots of experience in 25 years of teaching, Anita Kosak, who after years in special education classroom, currently teaches kindergarten at Kent City Elementary, said that being named a “Cool Teacher” by WGVU – the public service media arm of Grand Valley State University – was a most “delightful surprise.”
Kosak was nominated by Remington Allers, with whom she first forged a relationship while he was in the Young5’s program, which met across the hall from her classroom.
“I am so honored to know that Remington and his family believe I am impacting his educational journey in a positive manner,” she said. “He is a kind, caring and thoughtful boy. He is a ‘rule follower’ who sets a good example for others to follow. He is a leader.”
Kosak joins Kent ISD educators: Marsha Martinez of Kenowa Hills Central Elementary, Calvin Merritt of Grandville Century Park Learning Center, Stacey Szczepanski of East Grand Rapids Breton Downs Elementary, and Amanda Barbour of Kentwood Discovery Elementary, each of whom earlier earned the title during the 2018-2019 academic year.
Teachers are nominated by their students and a committee selects which educators are chosen for the WGVU Cool Teacher Contest, said Kristyn Bomberg, educational coordinator for GVSU Public Media.
“Experience has shown us that there is a reason students take the time to nominate their teachers – something very special is happening in these classrooms,” said Bomberg. “The teachers being nominated are creating meaningful connections in their students’ lives. We frequently hear how inspired and motivated students are by their teachers, and how deeply cared for these students feel.”
What it means to be a Cool Teacher
Highlighting the variety of teaching methods and “incredible things happenings in classrooms across West Michigan,” is the why behind the program, according to Bomberg. “Learning looks very different today than it has in the past, and we wanted to draw attention to innovative pedagogy in content and classrooms that initiate strong student engagement and learning,” she said.
The day of the visit, the WGVU team films the Cool Teacher in action. After recording the classroom activities, the teacher is presented with an award and both the teacher and the nominating student are interviewed for the final presentation.
The Kent City spot featuring Kosak and Remington is expected to be ready in early April, said Bomberg. Once released, Cool Teacher videos can also be found on the Cool Teacher webpage, on social media accounts, and a WGVU Cool Teacher Playlist via WGVU Digital Studios on YouTube.
Kent City kindergarteners prepared a thank you and staged a short program complete with cutout hearts and placquards with the words – Thank you WGVU for their visitors and enjoyed pizza and soda from the media crew.
“I am so impressed that WGVU recognizes and appreciates hard working and dedicated teachers through their Cool Teacher program,” said Kosak. “It is also rewarding to see and hear positive media coverage on teachers who go above and beyond to inspire children in the educational setting. I am so glad WGVU was able to visit Kent City Community Schools – there are so many deserving teachers who could be identified as a Cool Teacher.
“Our community is very fortunate to have WGVU be involved in educating students, parents and teachers by offering many useful resources.”
WGVU accepts nominations for Cool Teacher until April 1 on the Cool Teacher webpage. Each May nominating students and their teachers are invited to a year end celebration.