2020 George Melcher Elementary Teacher of the Year

Tami Mast

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Tami Mast
George Melcher Elementary School
First Grade

What factors influenced your decision to become a teacher? Identify what you consider to be your greatest contributions to and accomplishments in education.
I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a teacher. I had outstanding teachers who I admired and respected. The influence they had on me and how they inspired me to learn made me want to be a teacher. I wanted to be able to inspire, teach and influence children just like they inspired me. As I grew older, I realized that I wanted to embrace the field of education because I wanted to be the teacher a student went to for understanding and guidance. I wanted to instill in students the ability to trust and respect not only me but the educational process. I wanted to fill them with a desire to learn, so they would have the tools and education necessary to succeed. I know that it doesn’t matter where a student comes from or the student’s background. I will do my best to impact their lives through a strong educational foundation, attention, love, kindness and respect. That is what I received from my teachers and why I decided to become a teacher. I feel this foundation is why I can achieve the results I have accomplished in improving learning within my classroom. Throughout my career, data has shown that in communication arts and math, my students have improved their overall scores by 50%. It has also shown the majority of my students’ perform at an advanced or proficient level. The main reason my students perform at this level is my proficiency in utilizing high-level depth in knowledge questioning. Daily rigor in my classroom also assists in their level of understanding of instruction.

Describe a project or initiative that you have led or been involved with that contributed to increasing equity in education and opportunity for students in your school. What was your role in this project and what was the impact?
Melcher Elementary students are a diverse group of individuals who have many different needs. I recognized that many of the students lacked a positive role model or mentor. To influence and developed positive behaviors and characteristics within the students, I embraced the school’s mentoring program. I strive to be available to students when they want to talk or need someone to listen to them. I provide guidance and acceptance when needed and use my experience and knowledge to lead them in the right direction for success. As a result of my relationship with the students, many will come into my classroom for a time to refocus, talk to me about a situation or just come into my room for a smile and a word of encouragement. A simple smile or thumbs up from me reminds them that I am there for them. I realize that a smile or wave can turn a student’s day around, so I always provide encouragement to ensure they have a great day.

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