Oak Ridge teacher named Region 17 Teacher of the Year
Fifth-grade teacher Toni Meador was recently named the Region 17 elementary Teacher of the Year, but it’s not an honor she is truly comfortable receiving.
“It definitely wasn’t anything I signed up for,” she said. “I work hard, try my best. I don’t really see myself as better than anyone else. That’s the hard thing about being teacher of the year.”
Meador said she really relies on other teachers to help where she is weak, as she helps them in their weak spots.
“We’re all a team,” she said. “We all pull our weight.”
Meador said the only profession she ever wanted to pursue was teaching; she knew from the time that she was in first grade that she wanted to teach.
“I love kids, and I love teaching. I love preparing and spending time with them,” she said. “I just love everything about school.”
She raced through college and had her first teaching job when she was just 21.
“I stayed home one year when my son was born,” said Meador. Other than that, she has been teaching for 23 years.
She started out as a second- grade teacher, but found the age group she loves the best to be fifth-graders.
“They’re still excited about school, and very interested in school. … They still love their teachers,” said Meador.
Although for the past four years, she has taught science to fifth-graders at Crestview, this year she will be teaching reading at Oak Ridge Elementary.
Every year, she said, she sets development goals for herself. This year, she hopes to become more comfortable with technology, and to further integrate it into her classroom. She would like to lead her students in blogging about the books they are reading.
“I know the kids need (technological skills)” she said. “I’m trying to learn so I can keep them where they need to be.”
One thing Meador said she hopes her students would say about her is that she cares.
“I hope more than anything they would say that I care about them,” she said. “It’s not just about their test scores, but about them as a person.”
Meador said it would be easy for teachers to get caught up in test scores and to forget that students are people who sometimes have real problems outside of the classroom.
One quote she said she likes is from Christian writer and speaker John Maxwell: “They don’t know how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Outside of school, Meador said she has few hobbies except for spending time with her family and dog.
“I love to spend time with my husband and my son,” she said. Her husband is Larry; her son is Austin, a 20-year-old starting school at Texas Tech this semester.
Meador said she is also very active at First Church of the Nazarene.
“We’re real involved in our church. That’s probably where I spend most of my time, at church. If I’m not with my family, that’s usually where I’m at,” she said.
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