DODEA Pacific teachers become state-level finalists in National awards program
OKINAWA, Japan — Three Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific teachers were recently selected as state-level finalists in The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching—an honor awarded to the most distinguished mathematics and science teachers in the United States.
Marilyn Lea Hawks, a 3rd grade teacher at Bechtel Elementary School in Okinawa, Japan; John Murphy, a 7th grade teacher at Yokosuka Middle School in Yokosuka, Japan; and Jean Marie Tuquero, a 1st grade teacher at McCool Elementary and Middle School in Guam were chosen by selection committees composed of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science educators, school district level personnel, and classroom teachers.
Hawks said the PAEMST program application process helped refine her teaching skills, which has benefited her students.
“I am passionate about exposing children to science daily,” said Hawks, who has been teaching for 36 years. “My classroom is filled with living critters, rocks, magnets, microscopes, and all things science, and we are constantly asking questions and exploring the world around us.”
Teachers can self-nominate or be nominated by others and as part of the selection process, each applicant must submit ample evidence of their content knowledge and teaching capabilities. The application process includes three letters of recommendation, a resume, a written narrative on a chosen topic or concept, and a video component consisting of a recorded classroom lesson aligned to the chosen narrative topic or concept.
All applicants are evaluated through the five Dimensions of Outstanding Teaching:
- Mastery of mathematics or science content appropriate for the grade level taught.
- Use of instructional methods and strategies that are appropriate for students in the class and that support student learning.
- Effective use of student assessments to evaluate, monitor, and improve student learning.
- Reflective practice and life-long learning to improve teaching and student learning.
- Leadership in education outside the classroom
“Although many people focus on grades these days, I still emphasize thinking skills which is something that can be taught in math but used everywhere else,” said Murphy, who has been teaching for 10 years. “We really cannot predict what instruments the students will use in the workforce. However, I can use performance goals in conjunction with content-specific goals to help students be adaptable to whatever the future holds.”