UWF alumna makes an impact on her students
The thought of becoming a teacher occurred at a young age for Amanda Lagergren,'07. When she was an elementary school student, she would silently critique her teachers, thinking about the ways she would do things differently. However, it wasn't until a few years after graduating from college that she realized she wanted to make teaching a career.
The thought of becoming a teacher occurred at a young age for Amanda Lagergren,’07. When she was an elementary school student, she would silently critique her teachers, thinking about the ways she would do things differently. However, it wasn’t until a few years after graduating from college that she realized she wanted to make teaching a career.
“I have always wanted to make an impact on children’s lives,” said Lagergren. “So, I went back to school and earned my master’s in education from the University of West Florida. Without UWF, I would not have been prepared to become the teacher I am today.”
Lagergren is now in her third year of teaching fifth grade at Edgewater Elementary, a school in Pensacola with 370 students. And, this year, she was selected from a pool of 70 nominees as the Escambia County School District Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010.
Lagergren focuses on building her students’ confidence. During her first year of teaching, she had a student who, due to various circumstances, had low self-esteem. He did not think he could learn and catch up with the other students. This caused him to have a behavior problem at the beginning of the year. Lagergren worked with him throughout the year, and he transformed into a dedicated student with an excellent attitude. Now, he comes to visit her about once a month. He has been student of the month and he is speaking at his upcoming graduation.
“I am so proud of him,” said Lagergren. “On the days when I wonder why I do this crazy job, I pull out the note he gave me on the last day of school. In his note, he thanks me for believing in him when no one else did. I can’t change all of the kids like I did him, but I will do my hardest to try. Just helping change this one is worth every bit of time and effort I have spent on all my students.”
A big believer in cooperative learning, she encourages students to work together on projects and assignments.
“I want my students to want to learn and become confident learners,” said Lagergren. “I don’t want them to be afraid to take chances in the classroom. The kids are amazing, and while they will learn a lot from you, you will learn even more from them.”
To learn more about UWF’s Education programs, visit uwf.edu/education.
Written by Lauren Smith, University Marketing Communications