Archive for Thursday, February 14, 2008

23 years adds up to recognition for Eudora High School Teacher of Year

February 14, 2008

At the end of January, each school in the Eudora School District named its teacher of the year. This is part three in a series of profiles on each of the four teachers.

With 23 years of teaching experience, Eudora High School math teacher Bonnie Daigh is one of the senior members of the Eudora School District. In fact, her years of experience are more than the total years of experience of her peers in the high school math department.

But all those years don't mean being named Eudora High School's Teacher of the Year wasn't an exciting event for her.

"I was really surprised, shocked - maybe astounded is a better word," Daigh said. "I've worked in this district for 23 years and you just don't think of that award when you're teaching; you enjoy teaching. There are so many quality teachers in this district and it's just hard to put yourself above any of the others. I just can't put myself there."

Daigh knew early on in her life that she wanted to teach, playing teacher as a child and serving as an aide for her high school math teacher.

"The satisfaction of explaining things to his students and seeing them find success - that's probably where it became real to me that it was what I wanted to do," she said.

Friday in Daigh's class, students played a game meant to bolster their understanding of slope within graphs. It's one of a few activities Daigh incorporates into her class to keep her students thinking about math in different ways.

"Because of the content and what we have to cover, there are days when we're pretty focused and it's pretty structured - there's a rule that you have to learn and a process to learn it," she said. "But that game is a different way for the kids to move pieces instead of doing it with paper and pencil."

She especially takes pleasure in the activities that keep students engaged because she knows they are having fun while they learn.

"I thoroughly enjoy doing things like Jeopardy or BINGO or those kinds of things to review with the kids because they enjoy it," she said. "Sometimes it's just getting the kids standing up and I'll throw something at them and they'll have to answer a question. Changing things up a little bit is usually helpful."

Though she's got experience and awards, Daigh still believes she's got more to learn, and the new teachers sometimes are the people who teach her.

"Teaching changes over the course of the years," she said. "You see things come and go with strategies and what's current. But it's always refreshing to have new teachers come in. Right now, the math department is fairly young, but they come in with fresh ideas."

Daigh enjoys spending time with her husband, Matt, doing jigsaw puzzles, playing Sudoku and reading with her two daughters, 12-year-old Kelly and 10-year-old Kristi.

But according to Eudora High School Principal Dale Sample, it doesn't sound like Daigh has a whole lot of spare time.

"She's a very important part of our faculty," he said. "It goes beyond her teaching - it's also what she does outside of the classroom. It's a statement about how she feels about education, that it's not just five or six hours a day teaching.

"She's on just about every committee that I've got going. She's on our school improvement team, she's on the Professional Development Council, she's our curriculum coordinating council, she's sponsor of the scholar's bowl, she does tickets for ball games."

In fact, Sample said he feels embarrassed requesting her help because of everything else she does. But he keeps coming back to her, not because she'll do what is asked of her, but because she'll do a great job.

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