J. B. Martin Middle School recently selected seventh-grade reading educator Rebecca Lee as its representative for Teacher of Year for the 2016-17.Lee is a 16-year educator spending ten of those years in St. Charles Parish Public Schools. She has a bachelor’s degree in education for the University of New Orleans located on the Lakefront in New Orleans. She is a member of the school’s “Student Events Committee” where she serves as chair. Lee is married and has two sons.
Lee said her No. 1 highlight about teaching, “There are so many amazing moments in teaching; to try to pick out one would be extremely difficult. But, last year something did happen that reminded me that it only takes a few moments to reach a student. “
Lee said in after-school detention she saw a student come in with “a little attitude” announced she had no homework or anything to be completed for school that day.
“I said choose a book from my shelf and you will read for an hour,” Lee said. “You would’ve thought I stepped on that child’s foot for all the groaning that came from her. Finally, I chose for her. She had never heard of September 11th; the I Survived Series, The Attacks of September 11, 2001 short novel was perfect.”
Lee said she resisted for a while and asked if there was anything else she could do.
“In response, I took the novel and set it aside,” she said “I showed her a video from that history changing day, and another, and a tribute, and another.”
The student asked why the teacher was making her cry.
Lee told her there are events in life that we need to do more than read about.
“We talked about where I was that day and how I visited New York that Thanksgiving while the towers still burned,” she said. “The bell rang and I had never seen anyone more disappointed to leave detention. She came back, running into my classroom a minute later announcing that she had forgotten the book.”
The student grabbed it from the table and ran out the room, Lee said.
“I thought, ‘It can’t get any better than that. It did.”
The next morning, the sixth grader made her way back to Lee’s room and finished the book that night, and pulled another book from my shelf. Lee cried.
Lee will represent J.B. Martin at the district level.