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Rockstar Teachers

There's just something about certain teachers that draws students to them in droves and keeps them checking in years, even decades later. Here, we highlight some of these rockstars of the classroom.

She chose music over medicine, and her students are glad she did

Wendy Tenney Tenney is one of 10 Michigan educators who were named as 2018-19 Regional Teachers of the Year...

Helping Teen Parents ‘Go As Far As They Want to Go’

It had been a week since Robert Brant met with Shelley Bauer, a teen parent educator, and he had big news. He could now begin visiting his nearly 2-year-old son by an estranged former girlfriend. “How do you feel about this?” Bauer...

‘100 percent mesmerized by my job-this is what I get to do today’

Making sure each student is recognized and learns life lessons are what matters, said this Cedar Springs teacher...

He Pushes Students to Excel, with Pushups and ‘Geronimo!’

When it comes to encouraging students to give it their all, band director Troy Anderson says take the leap and yell "Geronimo!" By that he means hold nothing back. Blow those horns and pound those drums with gusto. "Why are you...

‘She will fill your bucket if you are empty’

This art teacher provides a solid skill base, then encourages her students to infuse their work with elements of their own lives. And she shares her own, which she says creates a safe space for them to reflect...

Teacher Challenges Students to Think, Take Risks

Mike Swift flipped off the lights in his eighth-grade language arts classroom. He momentarily went into the hall, cracked open the door and peered in, staring. His students shrieked. Swift had created an image they are not likely to forget...

A new teacher with a passion for the classroom: ‘I love helping kids’

While the number of new teachers continues to drop dramatically, Brittney DesLauries says she wants to do it for the rest of her life...

Respect and Relationships Build Bonds with Students

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Bill Kennedy's AP Government class kicks off as it does on most days: with video news footage. Today it's a story about a Defense Department study buried by the Pentagon that found $125 billion...

Her overarching goal: to teach that American ideals are worth striving for

Rebecca Debowski witnesses and guides her students as they learn to look at things in a more nuanced way and respect what one another have to say, from every perspective...

Part Silly Adult, Human Monkey Bar; All Kindergarten Teacher

Gerald Neff sits on a kindergartner-size table at the front of his classroom on a recent morning and welcomes his class to a new day. "Morning Georgia! You're wearing a dress. Are you getting married today?" he asks a youngster...

‘Feels like I just got here yesterday’

Kelly LaCroix has worked in the same classroom at Kettle Lake Elementary for two decades, and her enthusiasm continues to grow every day...

‘I show them another way, and another way, and another way’

A bank was robbed. Fifteen suspects – all middle-school staff members – had their mugshots taken, each holding a dollar bill up to their forehead. Algebra students were notified. The CSI team was waiting on video surveillance to confirm the...

Michigan art teacher of year makes all subjects ‘artful’

Art teacher Adrienne DeMilner brings art into all subjects and areas at East Kentwood Freshman Campus and out into the community. She was recently awarded 2018 Michigan Art Educator of the Year and Secondary Art Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Art Education Association...

‘It is what I was meant to do. These are my kids.’

Whitley Morse greets her first-hour Monday history class with smiles at the door – “I love your glasses!” – then with a chat-around about their weekends. A couple of her Ottawa Hills High School students tell of fixing their...

After Auto Industry, He Chose ‘Noble Career’ of Teaching

David Staublin has been known to poke fun at his diminished hearing. Having grown up in Charlevoix, he said, he attended "a lot of concerts" at Castle Farms, a '70s and '80s mecca for rock 'n' roll. "And I think...

Seismic lessons from this rock star teacher

GRCC Geology Professor and volcanologist Tari Mattox brings her first-hand knowledge of eruptions, rocks and much more into class...
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