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Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Visits Cameron Students

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LAWTON Okla_ Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year for 2013 was in Lawton Monday. Elaine Hutchison is a high school math teacher from Fairview.

She said even though many teachers don't make a lot of money, the rewards of her job mean so much more than a paycheck. That may be one reason she was given this honor.

She spoke to education majors at Cameron on how to make a difference, not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well. She said she genuinely cares about her students. More importantly than that, she shows them she cares. She's willing to give more effort. Hutchison said in return, her students give more effort, too.

Her siblings ask her why she chose to be a teacher when she could've been an engineer. Elaine Hutchison tells them she is an engineer. An industrial engineer at Disney World, and that she's every other profession her students have gone on to be, as well.

"Teach them how to work hard and be diligent in whatever it is they want to do with their life," Hutchison said. "Be passionate about it and love it."

Hutchison, a 20-year teaching veteran, is in the business of making dreams come true. She loves changing lives, something Sarah Peckinpaugh, an aspiring elementary teacher hopes to do as well.

"I want to be there when that light bulb comes on in their head and see that they understand, but that they got there on their own," Peckinpaugh said.

Hutchison uses a small cube to get those light bulb moments. She calls it HT to the 6th power: 6 teaching strategies that help make her classroom successful.

One of those strategies is high-tech.

"Find that intricate balance between all of the gadgets students use," Hutchison said.

When it comes to modern technology like iPads, other tablets, computers, etc., you name it, they love it. So she said, "Why not use it?" Another strategy: hands-on technique, or letting students do things in order to learn, like building a roller coaster to learn sin and co-sin.

"Sometimes, the car will fly off the side or not be able to make a particular turn," Hutchison said. "They'll have to alter and adjust it."

She said this incorporates another of her strategies: higher-level thinking skills. She said that higher-level thinking won't come, unless teachers create high-touch relationships, something Peckinpaugh already understands. 

"You have to care," Peckinpaugh said. "You have to want to be there. They know it. They know it when you don't care, and they know it when you do care."

Hutchison said she is happy to be part of these future teachers' tool kits. She said she is proud that Peckinpaugh has such a positive outlook.

 

 

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