By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Juliana Urtubey, recognized as National Teacher of the Year (NTOY), delivered an impassioned keynote via Zoom to School of Education students and faculty, in an event sponsored by the school, New Neighbors Education Center, and the Campus Activities Board.
Urtubey teaches at Kermit R. Booker, Sr. Innovative Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she serves as a co-teacher in pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade special education settings and as an instructional strategist developing supports to meet students’ differing academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs.
She was named National Teacher of the year by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), which owns the program.
CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program is the most prestigious teacher recognition program in the country. And that recognition can be a powerful motivation for teacher candidates, according to Dr. Faye Camahalan, Dean of the School of Education, who invited 2016 NTOY Jahana Hayes to IU Southeast in 2016 and seeks to make such visits a regular part of the campus calendar.
“Teachers receive recognition and when they do, we need to celebrate them,” Camahalan said. “I want to inspire future teachers to be great teachers.”
Noted for her heartfelt and joyous approach to teaching and learning, Urtubey spoke of bringing student stories into educational practices, getting constant feedback from students and fostering intergenerational learning as a regular feature of the classroom community.
Dr. Cathy Johnson, associate professor of education, felt that Urtubey’s keynote spoke to the current moment in education, stressing the need to address barriers to involvement and and to foster project-based learning.
“She focused on the importance of relationships with students and the community, and intentionally designing learning experiences that have real-world connections,” Johnson said.
Consequently, Urtubey’s presentation was rolled into a learning experience for the Block 1, 2 and 3 elementary education students and secondary education mathematics students who attended. They participated in a two-way Q & A with the speaker, and were assigned a reflection afterwards.
For Camahalan, figures like Urtubey are role models for candidates preparing for a career whose challenges are often more obvious than its rewards.
“It makes a big difference when teacher candidates are given the opportunity to have a conversation with the awardee who talks about his or her accomplishments, love for teaching and the students, and philosophy of teaching,” Camahalan said. “There is a lot to learn from hearing someone enthusiastically talk about the wonderful life of being a teacher.”
Homepage photo by Melissa Esparza for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSO).