West has the best

Joe Wolnik, Advertsing Manager

On March 15th, six Joliet Township teachers were honored with the “Great Teacher Award,” three from each campus. They contributed to the total of seventeen teachers who won this award.

The six JT teachers honored were Mademoiselle Bratkovich, Lt. Col. White, and Mrs. Muczynski from West; and Ms. Sokolowski, Ms. Croce, and Mr. Baltz of Central. French teacher Mademoiselle Bratkovich, said, “It came as a total surprise!  I am honored to receive this award.  I was also very proud that two of my former students won this award as well.”

“Winning this award was exciting,” claimed Lt. Col. White, Senior Army Instructor for JROTC, “The fact that it came from a student meant a lot. That is what teachers are here for, the students.”

To win this award, these teachers needed to be nominated by someone and then fill out an application displaying their abilities to: instill a desire to learn and achieve in students, understand the individual needs of students, encourage their talents, foster their self–esteem, demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and the ability to share it effectively with students.

“Every person has worth in our society; teachers and community members have a responsibility to teach our young people to value the gifts and talents each has,” said Bratkovich, “In turn, each teacher and community member needs to teach the young people how to share those gifts and talents.”

The Joliet Chamber of Commerce started the “Great Teacher Award” a few years ago. The qualifications are based off the book What Great Teachers Do Differently by Tom Whitaker. In this book, Whitaker describes the “Fourteen Things That Matter Most” which includes traits such as: creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom, high expectations, and an understanding that people make a good school, not programs. “We’re proud to be able to honor these educators who give so much to our communities and our children,” said Russ Slinkard, president and CEO of the Chamber.

“It makes you feel that your work is worthwhile,” explained Lt. Col. White, “I’m glad that there is an appreciation for what I’m doing”

This award is inspiring to both teachers and students. When asked if her students’ outlook on her as a teacher changed, Mademoiselle Bratkovich explained , “I’m not sure. Students commented on the award; some saw it in the paper, others saw the plaque on the wall. Hopefully, students will see the plaque and hope to attain this award or something similar in their future careers.”