Celebrating Wyoming State Teacher of the Year of 2021

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 2:03 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Transcribed from the In-Studio Interview:

Hello Wyoming, and welcome, Ms. Barney.

So can you tell us why you are in the city today?

Well, I’m the 2021 Wyoming state teacher of the year, and I’m here throughout this weekend to celebrate Cheyenne frontier days and to celebrate Wyoming and how we have made it through these last couple of unprecedented years, bigger and stronger than ever.

W.O.W., So can you tell us, being teacher of the year for Wyoming, what’s that like and what does that entail?

I am so humbled and honored to be the teacher of the year for Wyoming. It’s remarkable. I’m meeting so many people. I’m having such wonderful conversations with policymakers and wonderful people in our state, but then also outside our state. I’m making such strong connections with teachers all over the country, and it’s just so wonderful to learn from all of them, to share and connect with all of them. And to gain a different perspective of education on a national level.

Right. So how do you best engage your students? Especially after this year, it’s been such a challenge. How do you get them to get invested in their education and really pull their attention?

I think the first thing is building relationships with my students. Really knowing them and honing in on those social and emotional learning. And really making sure that I know how they are feeling when they are feeling it and building that strong relationship and that strong connection that builds trust and that builds a strong community in the classroom. And that helps to engage them. When they know that I care, they are going to care more. And then, when we do that, we can dive deeper into our learning on a more well-rounded level. I love integrating science, technology, art, math, and all of the S.T.E.A.M. Components within everything I teach, and that integration is so valuable in engaging them. They become excited about their learning, but then they see it applied to the world as a whole.

That sounds fantastic. So what’s been your greatest triumph in your career?

Oh wow! Hahaha.

I think my greatest triumph has just been the connections I’ve made with my students. Having former students come back and make sure that they take the time to walk into my classroom and say hi, or give me a hug., There’s nothing better, and that has to be the best experience out of everything that I’ve experienced. I think that has to be the best, is knowing that somewhere along that line, I’ve touched them and I’ve taught them lifelong skills, which means so much more than any award or anything else could ever mean.

That’s fantastic. We’re so lucky to have teachers like you, helping our kids and helping our future in Wyoming.

So thank you so much for doing what you do.

Yes, thank you for having me.

And back to you, thank you for watching Wyoming News Now.

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