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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.

‘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...

‘Nobody can take our education away’

After completing her student teaching at Thornapple Kellogg, Erin Kraker is back, bringing her own style to the classroom...

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...

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...

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...

Fast Talking, Storm Chasing, Globe-Toting Teacher

The first thing you notice in Dave Carmichael's weather and science class is that he often carries around a globe, using it as a prop to explain intertropical convergence, polar jet streams and pressure belts. The second thing you notice...

‘Soul of Northview’ Says Students Are the Reward

Ted Burba loves to swim, and he’s good at it. He twice won the state diving championship as a student at East Grand Rapids High School, and in 1960 swam the last 50 yards for EGR’s state-champion 200-yard relay...

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...

Director takes joy in teaching student musicians, ‘to see what they can do and...

Band director Greg Wells grew up as part of Northview’s proud tradition, in a family of music educators, and feels honored to carry it on

‘My Class is More Than What I Teach Them’

At 7:45 a.m. daily, teacher Terry Blevins begins the day with his 30 audiovisual broadcasting students tooling about a warren of separate rooms stuffed with computer screens, Canon cameras, teleprompters, professional video cameras on pedestals and video monitors. In...

“I realize what a privilege it is”

Rockstar Teachers Series: 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, in a series proudly...

Teaching French Not a Language But a Lifestyle

As a Crock-Pot of beef bourguignon simmered, high school students in Amy Wood's class took time developing their palates for Parisian food. With a hearty "Bon appetit!" from Wood, better known as "madame," they dined on goat cheese, crusty baguettes,...

Helping Students Love Messy, Beautiful Nature

On a damp and chilly morning, two dozen children follow Greg Petersen down a woodchip path toward a thick woods. He stops them by a fenced-in pond, just where the path leads into the woods like a tunnel, and...

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...

‘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...

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...
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