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        Page 26                                                                                                Electronic Edition:

        Finalists for 2024 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Continued from Page 25

                  Susanne Collins                      Marie Hansen                        Jason Jirsa                       Jamie Williams

              Edgerton Elementary School            Burnsville High School              Washburn High School                 Capitol Hill Gifted
                Roseville Area Schools        Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District   Minneapolis Public Schools        and Talented Magnet School
                      Grade 6                        AVID/English, 10–11                 Social Studies, 9–12.             Saint Paul Public Schools
            “Like many other teachers, I was inspired                                                                         U.S. History, 7.
        by a teacher. For me it was my high school   “I teach for my colleagues. Teachers are   “I  teach  because  my  students  need  me,
        speech teacher. From him I learned the impor-  the  best  of  us  the  funniest  smartest  leaders   we  all  need  them  and  teaching  and  learning   “I  teach  because  I  love  it.  Everyday  is
        tance of positive teachers and their powerful   who will do anything to help each other out.   can be a lot of fun. Before they leave my class   brand new and there is never a dull moment,
        inf uence on the students’ lives. My students   I teach for myself. I teach because I love kids   I  want  them  to  be  better  researchers,  better   especially  at  the  middle  school  level  and  I
        participate  in  many  community  building   and I love books so here we are, but mostly I   writers, better collaborators, better communi-  enjoy  most  every  minute.  There  are  chal-
        activities where they are encouraged to work   teach for my students. I teach because my stu-  cators, and those are all skills that I hope to   lenges of course but every challenge is worth
        outside  of  their  comfort  zone.  I  get  to  help   dents are brilliant, kind, thoughtful, and funny   give  them.  Now,  that’s  not  easy  and  part  of   it. When I see the light bulb go off in students
        them feel valued, appreciated, seen, and heard.   and helping them grow into adults. The next   my job that I love is the challenge that brings   when they understand, when they make con-
        I have the privilege to celebrate their accom-  generation is going to change the world, is the   me back every day. I cannot wait to see what   nections, when they take what they’ve learned
        plishments and identities every day.”  greatest privilege. I teach because the world is   they  do  after  high  school.  In  the  simulation   and apply it. I love teaching because it gives
                                            a scary place but working with the next gener-  today we were talking about climate change,   me  the  fulf llment  of  seeing  the  next  group
                                            ation, a generation that believes in the power   a  problem  our  generation  has  not  done  well   of  students,  the  next  generation  of  students
                                            of love and the power of change, banishes that   with, and yet when you listen to these students   become something great and know that I saw
                                            fear to the margins instead of the center.”  and their ideas and their enthusiasm you have   them when they were in their beginning. I love
                                                                                hope for the future. I can’t imagine a job where   teaching because I was made to do it.”
                                                                                I can have a greater impact on the world.”

                   Sarah Dallum
             Valley View Elementary School
              Bloomington Public Schools
                      Grade 5
                                                       Laura Jensen
            “I love to help my students belong to them-  Hopkins North Middle School   Michelle Morse-Wendt                      Ellen Wu
        selves. It’s really important to me that they have   Hopkins Public Schools                                         Alice Smith Elementary
        a  deep  belief  in  themselves.  Watching  them   Language & Literature, 7  Turtle Lake Elementary School          Hopkins Public Schools
        develop that is one of my favorite things. My                             Mounds View Public Schools, Grade 4.         Kindergarten.
        students bring me hope and joy for the future.   “I  teach  because  it  is  still  one  of  the
        They are going to be the change.It allows me to   most  meaningful  professions  there  is.  I  get   “I teach because it’s just who I am and   “I  teach  because  I  want  to  make  a  dif-
        talk to my students about social justice issues,   to  spend  my  day  with  11-  to  13-year-olds,   I  can’t  turn  it  off. There  is  this  drive  within   ference and impact in the lives of our young
        especially revolutionary leaders of the past and   who  approach  life  with  fresh  eyes  and  an   me to learn from others and to share what I   scholars. Every year I get 20 to 25 new best
        present. My students also teach me about the   amazing  amount  of  spunk  and  quirkiness.  I   have  learned  from  others.  I  teach  because  I   friends. I get to help create memorable experi-
        world. They love to talk about their cultures and   teach because I’ll be laughing 1 minute and   want every person to know that their unique   ences for the very f rst time and I get to help
        their religions and their perspectives and I love   utterly awestruck the next. I teach because I   cells  matter  and  to  teach  them  to  live  into   set the foundation of their educational journey.
        to soak that up with them. I love teaching and if   hear stories from kids that give me hope and   that person, to f nd that spark that only they   I love that I am able to see my students grow
        I didn’t I wouldn’t do this job.”   that belief  in  humanity  and  stories  that  also   have, and to bring that to the world. Kids are   and learn and play and become active members
                                            sometimes break my heart. I teach because I   hilarious and this job is so entertaining. Today   in society. Five and six year olds are extremely
                                            get to come alongside kids and be part of their   a student during a math lesson said out loud,   excited and energetic and I love that I’m able
                                            journey.”                           mostly to herself, ‘Toothbrushes can’t swim.’   to celebrate all those little things that they get
                                                                                Only in this job.”                 excited about.”
                                                                                                                       Courtesy of Education Minnesota
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