Meet the Miami-Dade Teacher of the Year Nominees – NBC 6 South Florida

The best teachers always find ways to connect with their students.

“You can’t start your class with just book work, you have to reach kids mentally before you can reach them academically,” said Renee O’Connor, who teaches global perspectives and African American history at the Norland Senior High School.

O’Connor is one of four nominees for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Award. The winner will be announced next week.

“If you’re not able to connect with students on an individual level, and if they only see you as an instructor, they won’t open up to you,” O’Connor said. .

“I’m trying to knock it down so it’s not authoritative and communicative,” said contestant Unethia Fox, who teaches math at her alma mater, South Miami Senior High School.

“You know, I motivate them before I get them into the math, and then I make the math relevant based on what interests them,” Fox explained.

“In my class, it’s not just about opening up to the book,” said contestant Andres Cerrato, who teaches history at the same school, Southridge Senior High, where he went to school.

“To me, making the story interesting is you have to make it relevant to them, and you have to be engaging, you have to be entertaining,” Cerrato said.

There is always a teacher candidate of the year who comes from a non-traditional school. This year it’s Derek Bostick, who teaches air conditioning repair at South Dade Technical College.

“I teach from my heart, I teach from what I know, Bostick said.

He definitely knows air conditioning. Bostick took that same course after high school, started an air conditioning business, and now teaches the subject to students who he says are exactly as he was many years ago.

“My philosophy is that you have to get on the level of the students, get to know them, and then you can feed them the information they need,” Bostick said. “If my child was in the classroom, what would I want the teacher to do with my child? This is how I conduct my lessons.

We don’t know who will be the winner. We know their students are lucky to have them.

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