Outstanding Educator award honors worthy instructors

By Esther Peterson

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

–Albert Einstein

On March 16, MCTC marked the First Annual Outstanding Educator Event.  MCTC honored three teachers, Dr. Taiyon Coleman – English, Kim Munson – Machine Tool Technology, and Linda Russell – Reading. The program, hosted by MCTC Vice President Dr. Gail O’Kane, acknowledged this years recipients as well as past recipients. The three honorees were announced and well-deserved accolades were given. President Mills-Novoa also thanked the teachers and touched on a bit of financial business that showed the importance of good teachers to draw students to MCTC.

As President Obama stated in his 2014 speech to National and State Teachers of the Year: “Today’s students might not even know what a chalkboard is anymore – but they do know that what a teacher gives them stays with them for a lifetime, because teachers matter.”

In my experience, teachers have often been the bellwethers of change. They teach us to ride the shockwave of the education hustle and that our biology is not our destiny. They create links between our self-worth and our potential to  free us from the contrived boxes we all live in. Great teachers carry our struggles, and our successes and possess an all-encompassing commitment to their students.

Dr. Taiyon Coleman is my English 1111 teacher. While looking for teachers for spring semester, I asked students on campus who they liked and why. Everyone I asked mentioned Dr. Coleman. I am an African American who was raised in the suburbs. I have never been taught by someone with the same melanin as myself. Since my history lessons were colorblind to black culture, I assumed the same applied to teachers. How little I knew the cultural impact I would feel by having a person of color teach me. In Dr. Coleman I have seen myself and the potential I have to change the color lines. She provides a culturally relevant pedagogy that is not limited because of the color of her skin. I am encouraged to learn from a teacher with an unbiased, critical lens on the world, something that has been lacking throughout my education.

I want to thank our teachers for their dedication to our success. To this year’s Outstanding Educators, to the winners in the past, and to all the future Outstanding Educators. Thank You.