Luci Wilgus- Staff Writer
Lassiter high school is notorious for high value education and competitive students. Our school produces excellent students with the help of dedicated educators. Each year, one faculty member is honored and recognized for their hard work with the Teacher of the Year award.
Ms. Minich was nominated for Teacher of the Year by Ms. Etter. This was Ms. Etter’s nomination:
Our AP Capstone program consistently has 100% of the students who take the AP exam pass it, many earning 5s. These teenagers are challenged by Mrs. Minich to choose relevant, challenging, and extremely important topics/problems to research. After going through an intense research process and writing 50 page papers analyzing their data and results, they consolidate that research into an oral presentation that they have to defend to a group of Lassiter faculty. Having sat though a few of these presentations, I am so impressed by the immense amount of work the students put into these projects and how much knowledge I gain from them! While these are the “cream of the crop,” they put in this quality work due to Mrs. Minich’s constant revision, inspiration, and encouragement. Several of these students have had their research published, have earned scholarships based on their research, and have been accepted into prestigious Ivy league schools around the world. They could not have accomplished all of those amazing feats without Mrs. Minich; she is a wonderful educator who is truly making a difference in these students’ lives as well as impacting our society through their contributions. Also, she has done quite a bit to help out “Team Phoebe” this year. She’s very deserving of this honor.
Interview with Ms. Minich:
How did you feel when you learned that you were nominated?
– I felt incredibly honored to be nominated alongside several fantastic teacher colleagues – we have some of the best teachers in Cobb County at Lassiter, and I feel fortunate just to work here!
What do you think makes you stand out as an exceptional teacher?
– Well, especially with AP Capstone, teaching extends way beyond the classroom. In AP Research, we meet for coffee over the summer to begin topic selection, and we make it a priority to celebrate achievements outside of school, which I think helps create a strong bond between me and my students. Also, I’m not sure if this makes me exceptional, because I know a lot of teachers have this philosophy, but I try to be a positive part of every student’s day. Students bring so much into our classrooms that we’re unaware of (anxiety, problems outside of school, successes in extracurricular activities, relationship issues) – and I want students to leave my class feeling good about themselves and their contributions in class that day, as well as inspired by what they learned.
Who / What has contributed to your success as a teacher?
– I come from a family of teachers and principals, so definitely my family. But in addition, my teacher friends, many of whom have been friends for close to two decades, have been so important. We lift each other up and constantly inspire each other to be better. Finally, it really helps to have a teacher husband to talk shop with at home. He gets it, and that’s invaluable.
What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
– Uh, the students – duh! 😉
What is the most stressful part of teaching?
– As teachers we have to wear a lot of hats; this creates a pretty large to-do list every day, which at times feels impossible. Teachers might be the most productive, time-efficient people out there because we have to be. Teaching English and AP requires lots of hours of work at home, and it can be tough to bust out the essays and the laptop after putting kids to bed at night, but the stress of the job is hands-down outweighed by the positive aspects; few jobs are as rewarding as this one.
If you could have any other job in the world, what would you choose to do?
– Professional cupcake-taster
Advice to future or new teachers?
– Respect all students, don’t feel the pressure to be perfect (and laugh at yourself when you mess up), attempt to build relationships with all the students you teach, and above all – stick with it!
Congrats to Ms.Minich!