WF Burns TOY discovers love of teaching through PTO

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022

WF Burns Middle School’s Teacher of the Year Trina Green began teaching 13 years ago. Though she worked in accounting for 16 years, she discovered her love of education when she got involved with her daughter’s school as the PTO president.

“My favorite thing about teaching is working with the kids,” Green said. “Building a relationship with them is the best thing. That’s when you know you’re really helping, when they’ll tell you something that helps me teach them.”

Trust is at the foundation of Green’s relationships. When there is open communication, she can work with her students on a case-by-case basis. Although she urges accountability, she is also cognizant that some students face obstacles beyond the lesson plan.

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“If I can build that relationship with them to where they feel comfortable enough to say, ‘Hey, Mrs. Green, something’s going on at home,’ then we can work with that,” Green said.

Green was humbled by the parents, students and coworkers at WF Burns who took the time out of their day to recommend her for the Teacher of the Year award. However, she maintained that she did not win it alone. She said that all teachers deserve to be honored, especially after COVID-19 when so many have quit.

“It takes a village, and I didn’t win teacher of the year on my own. I couldn’t win this without my coworkers. Every teacher is teacher of the year,” Green said. “Every teacher deserves that ‘attaboy.’ You stuck with it. You’re teaching somebody something.”

Another pitfall of COVID was that many students have fallen behind in the state’s standardized testing scores, according to Green. However, she said she wished all her students knew that they are capable of anything. She even keeps a sign on her door to remind them of their worth.

“Some of these kids were at zero,” Green said. “I had some kids last year move to a three from a one. That was huge growth.”

Green said she feels an accomplishment when her students’ test scores come back and she sees their growth. Again, she sees that improvemant as a win for everyone, not just her.

“When I get those results back where the kids have grown, That’s a huge accomplishment to me,” Green said. “They might not have scored where the state wants to see them, but if they went from a one to a two, to me, that is an accomplishment for all of us.”

Green said that she tries to use games and activities that keep the students’ attention while still engaging them in the concepts they need to learn.

“With math, you have to do pencil and paper at some point,” Green said. “But, today, the whiteboards are under my desks because they’re gonna get a marker and eraser, and we’re just gonna work those problems. Then, they don’t really realize they’re working.”

Still, Green said that it’s vital that the students learn the material. She said that the concepts they are learning in her class are a foundation for classes like pre-algebra and algebra. Every day, Green gives her students a real world concept to relate to their math problems.

“I need them to thrive and survive in their real life. A lot of kids don’t really need to go to college,” Green said. “They can be successful doing something else, and math teaches them those real world concepts. If you go to the grocery store, you need to know which coupon to use. Math makes them successful in their life and successful in their families.”

Green is grateful to her own family for supporting her teaching, even though it means that she spends more time at work than before even after the last bell has rung.

“I couldn’t do this job without the support of all the people in my family because we work long days, and we have all kinds of extra stuff,” Green said. “If my family wasn’t supportive of that, I wouldn’t be successful.”