Ultimate Teacher Lounge Winner: Mrs. Murphy
The winner of the Ultimate Teacher Lounge is Mrs. Jamie Murphy, an English teacher at Holliston High School in Massachusetts. While we were getting to know her and working on designing an amazing new teacher lounge, we took some time to ask her some questions about being an educator:
What inspires you most about being a teacher?
I love when students come back after graduating and tell me that they’ve learned something or used something from my class. The end result for my students (whatever it may be — college, work, military) always inspires me to be better. When these students come back and thank me for helping them, I’m motivated to be better and keep trying.
How can teachers change the world? Their communities? Their students?
Teachers are changing the world in the simplest way possible — we create relationships and we engage in communication. In building relationships with students, I hope we show/teach empathy and encourage students to apply it in their lives.
What’s the most important thing a teacher can do to uplift a student?
Patience, empathy, flexibility, kindness. Be there. Listen. (These are not easy, by the way, and I am no expert). I just think of all of the teachers who inspired me to become a teacher.
How important is working towards creating real change in your community?
It is important to me. I try to motivate my students to create change through the work we do in my classroom (and the books we read), but I also try to make a change by getting involved. In my 15 years as a teacher, I have been a two-sport coach and an advisor to multiple clubs ranging from the National Honor Society to the Humanitarian Club. If I’m going to motivate my students to make a change, I need to do it myself.
We believe teachers are some of the most resilient individuals. How would you interpret that statement in the work you’ve done as a teacher?
Students live in a different world today. There’s more competition, more pressure, more stress, and more available to them (that’s both good and bad). Not only do teachers have to do their jobs and teach, but they have to be prepared to help students in a myriad of ways, too, including social-emotional learning and active shooter drills. It’s funny, but I think teachers don’t necessarily see themselves as resilient. I think teachers just do our jobs and do our best to do our jobs.
What are some of the biggest challenges of being an educator today? How has your resilience allowed you to push through?
When I decided to become a teacher, it was because I wanted to make a difference and I wanted to work with children. Knowing that this job is not about me but about the students I work with (as a teacher, advisor, and coach) is what gets me through. I am also lucky enough to be supported by an incredible department and staff where I work. We listen and we support each other. This is a tremendous help.
What makes a great teacher?
I’m not sure a great teacher can be defined. I’m surrounded by great teachers who take different approaches and have different personalities. That’s the beauty of education, though. On that note: I do not consider myself great, but I’m working on it.
Congratulations to Mrs. Murphy and Holliston High School! We hope you enjoy your new teacher lounge!