Antioch University Los Angeles MA in Education with Teaching Credentials alumna Stacey Harding, received the Outstanding Teacher Award by the Culver City High School PTA. Harding is a Spanish teacher and has been working in the Culver City school district since 2011.
How did your time at Antioch shape the way you teach?
Although I knew at the time that I wanted to be a high school teacher, I went through the Multiple Subject Credentialing Program and then completed my Master’s in Education at Antioch. I often tell people that I think the skills taught in Kindergarten, 6th grade, and 9th grade are essentially the same; we teach our students how to “do” school and be a decent human. I think that student teaching in Kindergarten and 4th grade helped me focus on the minute to minute behavioral skills that I would have not otherwise thought about. Something Antioch really focused on was treating each student as an individual and making the effort to get to know them in order to best approach their learning style. In my ten years as a teacher, I can honestly say that the best teaching strategy is to genuinely care about them and show it. The kids know when you don’t and will mentally check out, and conversely will work hard for someone who does.
What inspires you about teaching?
What inspires me the most about teaching is the energy I get from my students. Even though teenagers are known to be apathetic, they are also extremely passionate when inspired. Working with this type of enthusiasm inevitably makes me excited about teaching and learning and makes me optimistic about the future in general.
What is the Outstanding Teacher Award and how did it feel to be chosen?
The Outstanding Teacher Award by the PTSA was given to three teachers at the high school (out of 100) who have extended themselves in order to better the school and the community. I was chosen due to my positive relationships with students and spending extra time outside of class hours. This particular award meant a lot to me as I was nominated by my students and their parents. With teenagers, sometimes it is hard to see beyond their blank stares and eye rolls, but we often have a bigger impact than they are willing to communicate.