Teacher of Future Teachers Awarded for Excellence
Warren County Career Center Teacher Academy Instructor Toni Crawford has been chosen as the WCCC 2020 Project Excellence Teacher. Mrs. Crawford teaches the satellite program at Lebanon High School.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Math Education from Miami University, 1985, a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership from Wright State University, 1992, and a School Guidance Counselor certificate from the University of Dayton, 2000.
Mrs. Crawford began her career at Lebanon High School in 1985 teaching math, and taught there for 13 years. She began as a school guidance counselor at WCCC in 2005, and worked in that capacity for nine years before taking the position as Teacher Academy instructor in 2014, and she is in her sixth year in that role.
“When I first started teaching, I just hoped that I didn't cause too much damage to my students,” she joked. “I was so young and inexperienced, and I had students who were only three or four years younger than me! But I loved it and wanted to improve and get better - and I wanted to survive that first year!”
Excellent teachers typically have been inspired to go into the profession when they are in school. Mrs. Crawford said that several of her teachers inspired her, but one in particular. “I had a 5th grade math teacher who pushed me and inspired my love of math,” she said. “He also invested time into me and made me feel special and valued.”
And, in turn, her students inspire her to keep teaching. “I love the relationships that are developed with the students and the family-type feel that is created,” she said. “Every day is a new day and you NEVER know what is going to happen! All of my students inspire me - that is why I do what I do. I am constantly amazed at the obstacles that so many of these students have overcome; from physical issues, mental health issues, family problems, homelessness, socioeconomic issues, and so much more they are resilient and successful and I am inspired by them every day.”
Her best advice to a student who is considering going into the teaching field is, “Don't listen to the negativity - that you are too smart to be a teacher, or too talented, or you won't make enough money. But rather listen to your heart and find your passion. Be the teacher that you always needed!”
The past few months with education switching to remote learning has given her insight into her profession and the way she looks at teaching. “It has 100 percent clarified that I am in this profession for the students and the relationships that are formed,” she said. “I truly believe that much of America realized the absolutely amazing and nearly impossible job that teachers do every single day! I am proud of how all teachers reacted and got things done!”
Watching her students face this challenge with resilience has given her hope. “I have learned that no matter how well something is designed, written, displayed, and presented there is absolutely no replacement for human interaction,” she said. “The students need these relationships, discussions, and interactions, in order to grow, be challenged, and build character. With that being said my students have been nothing short of amazing during this difficult time and the lessons they are learning will impact them for years to come!”
Warren County Career Center offers Teacher Academy satellite programs at Lebanon and Springboro high schools. Students explore the profession through classroom instruction on different learning styles and classroom methods, and progress to working side by side with a teacher/mentor in the classroom.