During this stressful time for many teachers, we want to show our appreciation for them. Last month, we showcased a teacher on Facebook, and we want to dedicate a blog post to her, too.
Meet Renee Saylor, a 12th grade teacher at North Star High School in Boswell, Pennsylvania. Renee is passionate about teaching because of the relationships she can develop with her students. Since she teaches seniors, she enjoys giving them the skills and knowledge to help prepare them for the world. Renee tries to relate many of her lessons to current events and adjusts her curriculum to what they want to know.
She also incorporates team-building activities and encourages her students to make eye contact and shake hands with their partner. When her students are reviewing each other’s writing, they use a “1 glow-up, 1 grow-up” system, which means they’ll say one thing they like about the piece and one thing that needs improvement.
During a unit she had taught on relationships, she found an article that said today’s teens are thought to be the loneliest generation yet. She asked them to write their thoughts on it and share it with the class. She wanted everyone to know that we all get lonely sometimes, so it’s important to remember that before you think. She could tell many of them were getting emotional on the topic and self-reflecting.
At the back of Renee’s classroom, she has a “Senior Brag Board.” Its purpose is for her students to shout each other out. Renee says all kinds of encouragement and praise are on the board: from Fortnite wins, to college acceptances and big-game scores.
One of the biggest ways Renee tries to relate and empathize with her students is by being as authentic as possible. She holds one-on-one conferences with her students to keep up with their lives and see if they’re anything going on. She wants her students to know that teachers are more than just figure-heads at the front of the room; they’re real people, too. She apologizes when she makes mistakes and participates in writing activities and shares what she wrote. This is how she tries to lead by example.
When Renee isn’t teaching, she enjoys exercising, crossfit, and teaching yoga.