Name: Katie Sutcliffe
School: Episcopal School of Baton Rouge
Grades/Subjects: Upper School English, Thesis Program Director, Writing Center Director, LAUNCH Co-Creator
Why this teacher was nominated:
Katie Sutcliffe is an educator who believes in giving young people a megaphone to express their ideas. She is passionate about research and writing that have practical implications for understanding and addressing real-world challenges. She was a 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Distinguished Teacher.
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
My parents always encouraged me to follow my interests and passions, which would lead to a life of purpose and fulfillment. It wasn’t until college when I was studying English and creative writing that I cemented the idea of teaching. I was so lucky to be nurtured by rigorous and empathetic educators, and I wanted to be just like my role models. From my first days in the classroom, I realized a true sense of purpose and about working for a goal and mission much larger than myself.
How has the coronavirus affected your work the most?
The pandemic forced flexibility and creativity in areas that weren’t on my radar. Our school has been so lucky to be in person this year, though many day-to-day routines look a little different. I’ve focused on finding ways to keep building positive community culture in my classes and reimagining, not canceling, the systems and traditions that build that community. My students have stepped up in big ways!
What keeps you going, even during the tough times?
I am a rose-colored glasses person, sometimes to a fault. I don’t see tough times as permanent, so I think my optimistic nature helps me find the silver linings of any situation. Tough times are opportunities to problem-solve. My students need resilient and optimistic role models, so I try to squeeze out the bright side for them!
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