The Michigan Council for the Social Studies awarded its 2015 Student Teacher of the Year award to Alma College senior Colin Campbell.
Nominated by Ithaca High School teacher Adam Lincoln ’02, Campbell was awarded in November 2015 at a ceremony in the Oakland County Schools building.
“Working with students and being able to see their critical thinking skills grow every day is remarkable,” says Campbell. “Teaching is wonderful because you have to constantly challenge yourself to better everything you do. By challenging yourself the students will receive the best lesson possible in that point in time.”
Campbell uses many different methods of teaching, including small and large groups, debates, simulations, individual work, analyzing documents and putting historical figures on trial to constantly change what the students do each day and to keep each day different.
“Students tell me that they love history now because of the way we have been teaching,” says Campbell. “Many students tell us that they enjoy the class.”
Campbell decided in high school that he wanted to teach because of the influence of his teachers who cared for and challenged him to work hard. He says his choice was confirmed in college by the experiences he has had within the education department and his field placements.
“My cooperating teacher has been wonderful,” says Campbell. “He has been very supportive by answering all my questions and helping me plan in the beginning. He eventually allowed me to do my own lesson plans. He also allowed me to fail on occasion; failure is important because we learn a lot from failure.”
Campbell said receiving this award means the bar of expectation is set high, and that he needs to continually reach that standard and go beyond to constantly improve.
“Student teaching is exhausting and difficult,” he says. “You are trying to learn many different things at once and become successful at all of these things. There’s so much to think about all at once.
“Teaching is a wonderfully rewarding profession,” he adds. “The amount of growth that the students show is phenomenal. To know that at the freshman level so many students are engaged and critically thinking about topics is wonderful to see.”