Golden Apple Nominees Prepare for Competition on Teaching Excellence:Students Explain Nominations

Golden Apple Nominees Prepare for Competition on Teaching Excellence:Students Explain Nominations
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Teachers nominated for the Golden Apple award now face the rigorous selection process. Eighty-three have been nominated including two from St. Peter’s Catholic Middle School. Tonight the nominees meet the students who submitted letters supporting them for the award.

Teacher Shannon Bickford gives students crickets to examine in a St. Peter’s science class. Labs are just one reason why kids keep nominating her for the Golden Apple award.

Bickford realizes, “Not all kids love science, so for two students to come forward and say hey, ‘You’re doing a great job. I love how you teach notes and I love how you have hands on activities,’ means a lot.”

Bickford says it’s an honor to be nominated along with St. Peter’s math teacher Heidi Gardner. Both teach sometimes tough subjects for students.

Elizabeth Motazedi who nominated her teacher says, “I like to get challenges. I don’t like the same criteria every day. And with that challenge, it’s fun because you can actually work for it. And you can be proud when you get over one hundred percent on your tests and when you’ve done really well in her class.”

Students who nominated Bickford say she makes sure they understand all the material. Eighth grader Hannah Hilsabeck says, “Any time she does notes, she’s all about us instead of what she’s doing and how she’s teaching but what she can do to help us

This is the second year Bickford has been nominated and she says the review process can be intimidating. “The interview process is definitely nerve wracking because you’re in front of a panel,” says Bickford. “So, the questions can sometimes get you off guard a little bit but overall it’s a good experience.”

Even before the interview process nominees fill out questionnaires and write an essay.

Last years middle school Golden Apple winner and St. Peter’s language arts teacher Julie Pettyjohn says of the selection process, “This was like going through another job interview.”

So Pettyjohn has advice for Bickford and Gardner.

She says, “You have to do some self-reflection about your philosophy of education. They ask some tough questions on your thoughts about education in general for our country and where we want to see education go. And you really need to just think, know your heart, know yourself and be able to reflect that.”

Win or lose they say it’s an honor to be nominated.

Golden apples are awarded to teachers in kindergarten to second grades, 3rd to 5th, 6th through 8th and high school.

Winners along with teacher of the year are

Announced at the annual Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce banquet April 21 st , 2016.