The Tactics to Teaching

Mrs. Stoddard Named the WBHS Teacher of the Year


Laura Emerson

WBHS Principal Mr. Hicks poses with Teacher of the Year Award Winner Liz Stoddard

Leah Hallwirth, Journalist

Teacher of the Year is an achievement awarded to one teacher nominated by their peers and chosen by those previously chosen for this honor. For the 2021-2022, Liz Stoddard, a Mathematics teacher, was chosen for this special honor which was announced in a virtual Zoom meeting on January 6, 2022.

“Finding out I was teacher of the year was exciting. We were in a virtual meeting, normally I would have my camera turned off for those virtual meetings but I happened to have it on that day,” Liz Stoddard, Teacher of the Year winner. “As I saw a couple of my students come up and share kind words I realized they were talking about me, but I tried to control my face and not blush or anything.”

The pandemic that started over two years ago has had a great effect on the world, including the schools. Teachers had many struggles due to the pandemic, including teaching in a hybrid learning environment, struggling with new technology and navigating a new learning management system with Schoology.  

“I specifically chose Mrs. Stoddard for Teacher of the Year because I think she represents the struggle that we have gone through as educators in the last two years, since this pandemic has hit,” Misti Lucero-Wolf, technology integration specialist, said. “She is hard on herself, like many of us are, because she wants to do the right thing and consistently showed me that she was trying to improve.”

An important part of being a good teacher is not only helping others learn, but also allowing yourself to learn new things everyday.  Learning from your mistakes is an important part of being able to grow as a person.

“I really try to embrace when the student learns from their mistakes and I give them a chance to make corrections, not necessarily to change their grades, initially, but for them to know how to find and learn from their mistakes. I think the kids are able to see this as me wanting them to succeed and I think other teachers see it too,” Mrs. Stoddard said.

Through many years of teaching, Mrs. Stoddard has been able to learn lessons that not only apply in her classroom but outside of school as well.

“Teaching helps me remember that we don’t get everything in life right on the first try. The same grace I try to extend to my students, I try to remember to also extend that to myself, friends, and family,” Mrs. Stoddard said. 

While teaching can be incredibly rewarding, there are many lessons to be learned and a long list of struggles when it comes to navigating the pandemic. Teaching became more than just giving students work and grading papers. 

“The most challenging part of teaching is the to-do list that is never ending whether it’s papers to grade, parents to email, kids to follow up with because they look like they had a bad day, lesson plans, it never ends,” Mrs. Stoddard said.

Through the struggles the pandemic has caused and the list of work that comes with being a teacher, Mrs. Stoddard continues to have a passion for teaching. 

“Mrs. Stoddard inspired all of us to keep trying, keep getting better, and if it doesn’t work to try it another way. I know she’s had hard days but she doesn’t show it, at least not in a way that doesn’t make anyone feel bad, but in a way says I’ve struggled too.,” Lucero-Wolf said.

An important part of being a good teacher is having a strong support system to prevent being spread too thin. Co-teachers provide much-needed support in the classroom.

“Ms. Potter, my co-teacher, has worked with me for a couple years now. She helps me a lot with logistics, clerical things, helping students one on one,” Mrs. Stoddard said. “It frees me up to be able to spend more one-on-one time with kids and have more time to put into planning especially with all the online resources.”

Mrs. Stoddard always had a passion for helping those around her, and part of being a great teacher is having that desire. 

“I think teaching is just something that is in my spirit,” Mrs. Stoddard said.