Posted Date: 02/09/2021
Kara Wynn: 2020-2021 Merryville Junior High Teacher of the Year
“Secret recipe: A pinch of patience, a dash of kindness, a spoonful of laugher, and a heap of love.”
The students who pass through Kara Wynn’s classroom doors at Merryville High School know this recipe by heart.
“Learning is essential,” she said. “but learning should also be fun!”
Her room is vibrant and colorful. Her walls are filled with drawings and color-coded charts. She is known for her quirky nicknames for students. Laughter is always welcomed in her classroom. She creates a space for students to engage their imagination and for all learning styles to thrive.
She would agree with Gilbert Highet’s remembrance of a wise teacher who said: “I consider a day’s teaching wasted if we do not all have a hearty laugh.”
Laugher and learning go hand-in-hand in Wynn’s classroom because the combination makes learning relatable. When students are having fun and enjoying what they are doing, they are relaxed, which allows learning to take place.
“I want my students to be comfortable in my classroom, so I tell stories and create space for them to interact with me, with each other, and with the material in ways that make the experience memorable,” she said. “In this way, I engage my students in the learning process that I hope will produce lifelong learners.”
Wynn loves books and literature and reading. It is her passion, and she allows her passion to show in her teaching. She reminds her students that she does not believe in people not loving to read; she simply thinks that they have not yet found the right book.
She understands that language arts is not every student’s favorite subject, but she believes that her enthusiasm for the reading and language engages her students and helps them enjoy it more.
Wynn recognizes that teaching does not just take place in the four walls of her classroom. Students come to school looking for an adult who believes in them and helps them be successful in all of life’s situations. Wynn strives to provide that friendly face and word of encouragement that each of her students need at some point in the year.
“Teachers equal life counselors, especially in junior high,” she said.
Her favorite thing about teaching is the connections she makes with her students, past and present. She shows genuine interest and concern for them and is open and relatable.
“Students will not learn from teachers they do not like, so showing them that I genuinely care about them and about their success, in the classroom and in life, helps me make that connection that makes a difference,” she explained.
Wynn is the 2020-2021 Merryville Junior High School Teacher of the Year.
She has been a classroom teacher for five years, serving the past three years at MHS. She taught fifth grade English language arts at Pickering Elementary where she served as the ELA Teacher-Leader representative before moving to Merryville to teach sixth and seventh grades English language arts. She is a PBIS Team Member, the Google School Site Representative, and the Beauregard Students Write Coordinator for Merryville High School.
Wynn earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Health & Human Performance in Sports Administration from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She earned her TEACH Program Certification in ELA grades 4-8 and her Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Louisiana College, Pineville, Louisiana.
As an educator, she needs for society to understand that teaching is tough, difficult, gritty work that requires true love and a passion for serving others.
Her advice to new teachers is to show themselves compassion and grace while they are learning what works for them in the classroom and to reach out for help and support from more experienced teachers.
“I strive to be the teacher for my students that I would want for my own children,” concluded Wynn. “I want to help prepare them for their futures and be a positive influence that they can count on in their lives.”
Wynn does this with a pinch of patience, a dash of kindness, a spoonful of laugher, and a heap of love.