by Bernie Tafoya
CHICAGO — A freshman English teacher at a South Side high school has become the first of ten area teachers to be surprised in their schools with Golden Apple Awards.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports Gov. Pat Quinn led the cheers for Katherine Dube at TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School.
“Teachers are our heroes, and you’re our heroine today,” the governor said.
Dube said she’s honored to receive a Golden Apple, but said she’s hardly alone in deserving the honor in Englewood.
“In every single school, you’re going to find amazing teachers, who go above and beyond every single day,” she said. “I’m one of many teachers in this school, one of many teachers in Englewood who you could say deserve this award.”
Dube has her freshmen reading Romeo and Juliet and The Hunger Games this year. She even had students get more into the Shakespearian era by making clothes and more, including having them learn a little Shakespearian “trash talking” – Shakespearian insults.
“I have a list of words … and they get to put together different phrases, and yell them out at each other across the room, which they don’t get to do very often, so it pulls them in,” Dube said. “Once you’ve done that, they’re kind of sold on the power of language.”
She said she also recruited some fellow teachers to get Shakespearean-era hairdos from her students during their prep periods.
“So they’d be typing away on their computers, getting these elaborate braids done by students, and again it was a way for students to connect to each other, to connect with their teachers, and just brought some authentic learning into the classroom, and made them more inspired to read,” Dube said.
TEAM Englewood principal Matt Heller said he nominated Dube because she pushes her students to take on challenging material, and because her students’ test scores show that she has “remarkable abilities to get kids caught up very quickly.”
“She had the highest growth of any freshman-, sophomore-, or junior-level teacher across our entire network of schools, which is 17 high schools,” he said.
Nine other Golden Apple Award winners throughout the area will be surprised in the next few days.
Golden Apple recipients receive a tuition-free spring quarter sabbatical to study whatever they wish at Northwestern University. They also receive $3,000 cash, and become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.
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