“Fourth grade, here I come!” I thought as I left my third-grade classroom one last time. I didn’t know it yet that June afternoon in 1986, but no other teacher would ever make as meaningful an impression on me as the one I was leaving behind.
Our projects were fun and challenging, and although we respected her as the teacher and as the adult in the classroom, her playful and compassionate nature always made us feel like she was “one of us.”
Recently, I spoke with another educator who is playing an important role in her students’ lives. Alene Smith – a civics, law and social studies teacher at Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy – is helping sophomores learn about careers in the legal profession through job shadowing, internships and a variety of classroom activities through the national Street Law program.
When I spoke with Smith for a BizVoice® story about the program, I could hear the pride in her voice as she described the mutual admiration between attorneys and students, and I heard the passion as she praised the initiative’s educational value.
Recently, the Indiana State Teachers Association recognized Smith with the 2011 Horace Mann Hoosier Educator of the Year award.