Written by Publisher, Wakulla.com Monday, 08 January 2007 12:50
Riverspings Middle School 2007 Teacher of the Year is Crissy Sarvis
The 2007 Riversprings Middle School Teacher of the Year is Intensive Remedial Reading Teacher Crissy Sarvis. Sarvis, a graduate of Wakulla High School, graduated from Florida State University in 1992 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. She is certified in Secondary English (Grades 6 through 12), and went back to school while teaching full time to become certified in Math (Grades 5 through 9). She recently received her reading endorsement for Reading Kindergarten through 12. “I had to complete 300 hours of reading inservice to get my endorsement,” said Sarvis.
Sarvis first started teaching in 1992 at Wakulla Middle School. “I taught 6th grade reading, language arts, math and geography at WMS and then at Riversprings Middle School when it first opened,” said Sarvis. “My subject area never varied much, but my teaching partners changed somewhat over the years.” Sarvis became the Intensive Remedial Reading teacher this year at RMS, and says it is the first time she has ever taught on her own. “I’ve always been with a team,” said Sarvis. “That was the one thing that held me back from accepting this position at first. I am so used to collaborating on a daily basis with my team partners. But I have adjusted and really do like what I’m doing now. It was a little overwhelming at first, but now I am really enjoying it.” Sarvis now teaches all middle school grade levels, which include 6th, 7th and 8th. “I was a little nervous about teaching the older students at first, but I’ve found that I really love it,” says Sarvis.
Sarvis is the only Intensive Remedial Reading teacher at RMS, with the exception of one class taught by an ESE teacher. Sarvis teaches regular ed 8th graders and 7th graders, and her 6th grade class is a combination of regular ed students and ESE students. “I have always had ESE students in my classes,” says Sarvis, “but their disability was not necessarily in my subject matter. This year their disability has been documented in reading, and it has been challenging because I have had to teach to all different reading levels in the same classroom.” The Intensive Remedial Reading class being taught by Sarvis is a state mandated class. Each class has to receive at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction. “We use a program created by Scholastic called ‘Read 180’,” explains Sarvis. “It’s a good program and the students respond very well to it.”
Sarvis says she began thinking about becoming a teacher while in middle school. “Those teachers inspired me to want to be a teacher,” says Sarvis. “I knew before I started college that it was what I wanted to do. I started off planning to be an elementary teacher, but then I did my internship at Fairview Middle School and realized how much I enjoyed that age. That was what helped me decide what direction I wanted to go in.” Sarvis credits Cathy Corder, one of her middle school teachers (who also later taught her in college!) as the person who inspired her most to want to teach. “She was teacher of the year recently for Leon County, and went on to become one of the five regional finalists for the state of Florida,” says Sarvis. “She was definitely an inspiration for me.” Sarvis says the person who has inspired her the most since she began teaching is fellow Riversprings Middle School teacher Angie Williams. “She has been a real mentor in my development as an educator,” says Sarvis.
Sarvis says the thing that keeps her going is the kids themselves, and just having the opportunity to help them overcome challenges and to see them succeed. “ As a 6th grade teacher the students come in and they are new to the school,” says Sarvis, “so a lot of what you are doing is getting them acclimated to middle school. It is amazing to see how far students come in their first year at the secondary level In my first year at a new position, I’ve already reaped rewards. I had a student who could barely read, and one day he said, ‘I got it! I can do this Ms. Sarvis! I can figure out what these words are!’ That was a great moment for me.”
Sarvis said she was excited and honored that her peers would choose her to represent them as Teacher of the Year. “If I don’t make it any farther than this in the process, it will be enough,” said Sarvis.
When asked what her philosophy on teaching is, Sarvis answered, “I believe outstanding teachers love kids enough to pull out all the stops to help each child be successful. They capitalize on each student’s strength, celebrate successes and tirelessly plan creative ways to help students when they fail. With the goal of helping their students, outstanding teachers evaluate the effectiveness of their instruction daily, collaborate with colleagues, conference with parents, eagerly attend workshops, and willingly try new strategies.”
This article originally published on January 7, 2006.
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