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AMS Teacher of the Year: Colleen Walker

AMS Teacher of the Year: Colleen Walker
Posted on 01/25/2019
Teaching was not Colleen Walker’s first choice in college. Joining the education field was always in the back of her mind, but at the time, she was determined to explore other options.

“I looked at nursing. I looked into other pathways. I was trying to keep my mind open to everything, but I just kept coming back to teaching,” she said.

She eventually listened to what she describes as her instincts. “Teaching to me was like a vocation in a kind of way,” she said. “It was a calling that I felt, and when I started observing classrooms, I just knew this is where I belonged.”

Walker thought about those in her life who have impacted her most. Time and again, those influencers were teachers – mentors she still thinks about today. It’s been 23 years since she first started teaching, and this year she received the honor of her career: being named Teacher of the Year for Arlington Middle School.

“I’m extremely honored and humbled to be chosen by my peers and administration,” Walker said. “Teaching has been my life since graduating from college. It’s what I know…it’s what I love.”

Walker began teaching English Language Arts (ELA) at AMS in 2010. She’s been a grade-level chair, the ELA chairperson, yearbook sponsor and the media liaison for the school. But what she loves most is being in the classroom and engaging her students.

“Student engagement and interest is paramount in my classroom,” she wrote in her Tennessee Teacher of the Year application. “I know that it all begins with me and my approach to daily lessons. I believe my level of energy and enthusiasm about what we are learning carries over to my students.”

That approach she brings to the classroom has paid dividends, as Walker has consistently ranked as a top performing teacher. From time to time, visitors from the past even stop by to tell her the fond memories they have from being in her classroom.

“It’s unexpected moments like that… when a former student from 10 years ago comes back to say ‘thank you,’” Walker explained. “To know that I’m in their thoughts all these years later is special.”