A Passion for Her Students’ Success: National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee


At the end of each school year, I use my final class to share a last lecture on things I learned from my students.  They are generally surprised by the concept of a teacher learning, but teachers are by nature learners, always seeking new opportunities to grow.

Recently, I had one of those opportunities when the 2017 state teachers of the year visited the Department of Education.  These teachers are wonderful representatives of the best talent in the teaching profession, and I gleaned so much from my discussions with these exceptional educators.  While they all come from diverse locations and experiences, they all exhibit core characteristics that all teachers can learn from.

These characteristics were apparent throughout a conversation with Sydney Chaffee, who was recently announced as the 2017 National Teacher of the Year.  The first thing that stood out to me about Sydney was her passion for her students.  She managed to always bring our discussion back to her students, and in doing so, her passion for their success was unmistakable.

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