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Crystal Underbakke: Beauregard Parish Middle School Teacher of the Year

Posted Date: 11/09/2020

Crystal Underbakke has been named the Beauregard Parish Middle School Teacher of the Year and the EBHS Middle School Teacher of the Year

“Every student can learn, just not on the same day or in the same way.” 

This quote by George Evans captures the philosophy of East Beauregard High School’s seventh  grade  English  Language  Arts  teacher  Crystal  Underbakke,  who  is  emphatic  that every child can learn.

“All children can learn,” she said. “Some just require more time, work, and love than others.”

She believes that the challenge of educating students with various backgrounds and different learning needs makes teaching such an interesting and rewarding experience.


Underbakke has three  goals every year for her classroom, and if she accomplishes them, then her students will reap the rewards.

Her  first  goal  is  to  establish  an  inviting learning  environment  where  all  children  feel like that are an integral part of the classroom.

“When     students     are     valued,”     she explained, “when their ideas are recognized, and when they feel safe and supported, learning will happen.”

Her second goal is to motivate students to learn.   She   believes   that   students   who  are engaged and who feel safe openly participating in  activities  and  class  discussions  will  begin  to enjoy learning.

Her   third   goal   is   to   develop   life-long learners.  She  understands  that  every  
student will    not    love    diagramming    sentences    or analyzing poetry, but she says that every student can learn the skills needed to pursue ideas that do interest them. She encourages them to learn something new every day.

Her favorite thing about teaching is what she calls the “ah-ha moment” when students comprehend a concept they have been working on.

“A best day scenario for me is when my students are engage in the learning process and at least one has the ‘ah-ha moment’ where the information clicks and she or he fully grasps what I have been teaching,” she explained.

Underbakke is the 2020-2021 Beauregard Parish Middle School Teacher of the Year and the EBHS Middle School Teacher of the Year.

She has been a classroom teacher for eighteen years. She taught at DeRidder Junior High School 
where she served as the ELA Department Head and at DeRidder High School before moving to East 
Beauregard High School six years ago. At EBHS, she has taught English I & II, Speech I, Gifted and 
Talented classes, and middle school English and math. She also

serves as the EBHS JR. Beta Club sponsor.

Underbakke earned her Bachelor of Science in General Education from Northwestern

State University. She is certified in grades 1-12 and Special Education Mild/Moderate. She is also 
trained in Jane Schaffer Writing Techniques.

Her  biggest  need  as  a  teacher  is  support  from  parents,  administrators,  and  the 

Her advice to new educators is to be positive, fair, and supportive. She believes that in doing so, 
teachers affect students’ lives and not just their year.

“I teach because it’s what I love to do,” concluded Underbakke. “I feel like teachers

really do make a difference in the world.”