MCLEANSBORO — This week’s Orthopaedic Center of Southern Illinois MVT–Most Valuable Teacher Award goes to Mr. Blane Miller, a social studies teacher at Hamilton County Junior High.
With the junior high using a blended schedule, Miller records a video lesson during his morning planning period then teaches classes in person followed by remote classes in the afternoon.
“We’ve really integrated technology ever since I’ve been teaching down at the junior high,” Miller said. “So, our transition has been a nice, smooth transition. We’ve already been incorporating a lot these things. Our kids are kinda really familiar with using technology–obviously we’re having to rely on it way more than the past.”
Miller went back through his old lesson plans to plot out the best course direction for whatever the school year might hold.
“I relooked at everything,” Miller said. “How can I make this kinda survive the best in a digital format because the potential of a lockdown is always a day away. It’s one of those things where I’ve tried to embrace it as a moment when things are up in the air. It allows us to try new things, look at things in a different way and try to help out and serve the students’ needs.”
Miller said it’s not just the teachers who have different approaches to classes, so do the students.
“With all the doom and gloom that does exist,” Miller said, “the silver lining is not only teachers are really looking at how their approaching their craft, but I think students are relooking at education as well. They’re way more receptive to it. It’s been really nice.”
While there are plenty of hurdles, with everything that is going on in the world, Miller believes it’s a great opportunity for his social studies classes.
“Being a social studies teacher, the time in which we are in now–trying to properly inform yourself is extremely difficult,” Miller said. “Giving kids the tools to be able to properly inform themselves as independent learners I think is critical. I think we’re seeing that right now kinda play out of how big of a skill that actually can be and how many people may actually need it.”
As Tiffany Price told us in her nomination, “Mr. Miller is amazing with all students. He takes his time with them if having trouble until they understand. He is taking the pandemic very seriously to protect himself and all around. Students come to him for any problem and he is always there to listen and give advice.”
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