Aired Thursday May 27th, 2010 at 7:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
Teaching junior high school can be a challenging job. Not only is a love for teaching required, but a broad knowledge of curriculum and standards, discipline and management techniques, enthusiasm, a caring attitude and endless overtime and volunteer work. Oak Canyon Junior High School in Lindon, Utah has a teacher with each of these qualities. Terry Hunter is one of six Utah Educators to win the 2010 Utah PTA Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education. This year's awards ceremony, airing on KUED-Channel 7 Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 p.m., celebrates the Golden Apple Award's 20th anniversary.
With 28 years of teaching experience, Hunter quickly sees the potential in each of his students and works to develop their talents and strengths. Posing "Why" questions to his students, Hunter stimulates contemplation and encourages students to look at issues from all sides. Class projects and extracurricular tasks expand students' comfort zones.
Hunter makes it a point to teach his students that the same principles learned in class can be applied to life in general. "Students love to come to Mr. Hunter's class," says PTA President Terri Whittingham, "because they know they can succeed and see improvements in themselves."
Hunter manages a Technology Student Association chapter, a non-profit national student organization devoted to teaching technology education to young people. "Imagine a project so captivating that students spend hours working on it after school for weeks at a time," says Whittingham. "Since Mr. Hunter started the TSA program in 2002, Oak Canyon Junior High students have consistently received honors on both state and national levels." Many of his former students return for help or advice on their current high school projects or stop in to participate in a class.
Teaching career technology and engineering courses, Hunter manages eight class periods of seventh, eighth and ninth graders. He also sees his teaching as an opportunity to develop team-work and personal responsibility skills. "Mr. Hunter believes that by setting clear rules and guidelines, and sticking to them, students know what is expected of them," says Whittingham. "His students consistently exceed the expectations set for them."
Hunter often invites outside professionals into the classroom to teach his students about the different career paths available to them, adds Whittingham. "Over 40 professionals have been invited in from the community to share their insights." Students are required to "Job Shadow," spending a workday with a professional then writing a report on what they learned.
Hunter also invites parents to be a part of the educational process. One class period is dedicated for parents to come in and experience what their child is doing in school. "The parent's attitude towards education and schools is of utmost importance," says Hunter, "and it will be reflected in the child's attitude and achievement in school."
"It's great to be a teacher," he concludes. "It's like I get paid to spend the day enjoying the energy and enthusiasm of my students."
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