When 5-year-old Jaysonn heard his grandparents congratulate their daughter, Tiffany, he excitedly said, “My mommy won!”
The Rodel Foundation of Arizona has selected Tiffany Thompson as a recipient of its Exemplary Teacher Award, representing the best in the state. This honor is bestowed upon a few select teachers who teach in high-needs schools, while demonstrating incredible and consistent growth with their students on standardized tests.
Andrea Erickson, principal at Whitman Elementary School, where Tiffany Thompson teaches fifth grade, nominated Tiffany based on her high growth, professional development, and the impact she is making in the classroom. Tiffany is no stranger to awards. She had received the Rodel Promising Student Teacher award a few years back.
Having only been in the classroom for four years, Tiffany didn’t see this award coming. “I always thought you had to have more experience to be nominated,” she stated. She attributes her success to the community feeling she establishes in her classroom. Her students respect her as she does them. “They like you, respect you, they will perform for you, and drive hard for you,” she said.
Allowing her students to interact and guide each other in their everyday classroom experiences gives them ownership in their learning. In addition, Tiffany creates a mutual feeling of acceptance and tolerance in her classroom. All of this, combined with her love of what she does, makes her classroom a place where the students want to be every day. Her students know she is there for them. They respond by working to their potential, and striving to always do their best for themselves, their families and her.
Tiffany works with a supportive team of teachers. They are often there working early in the morning and planning late into the evening, long after the kids have gone home. Aside from her team, the entire Whitman Elementary School staff also has been celebrating her success with congratulations, flowers and announcements on the morning news.
For the next three years, new Rodel student teachers will have the honor of working with Tiffany, and learning from her. As a Rodel winner, she is committed to having six student teachers over the next three years, one each semester. She wants to use Rodel to make her better at what she loves to do.
“It takes time and patience to be a teacher,” Tiffany said, “but it is worth every minute.”
Congratulations, Tiffany! We are proud of you.
For more information on the Rodel Foundation of Arizona, check out the Web site at www.rodelaz.org.