Q & A With Gold Star Teachers: Stephanie at Our Lady of Fatima

(This article was originally posted on blog.fastdir.com)

Meet Stephanie Koch, who loves teaching middle school students “with all of their ups and downs, their keen sense of justice and humor.” Mrs. Koch has 28 years of education experience and teaches Language Arts to the seventh and eighth grades at Our Lady of Fatima in Lakewood, CO. She is held in great esteem by her colleagues as described by Principal Lisa Taylor:

“Stephanie has helped her teammates in the middle school set up their calendars, grade books, bulletin boards, and has been a mentor to a new teacher this year in all things Fast Direct. She was one of the first teachers who asked if FastDirect could have an upload capability a few years ago and is consistently in contact with her parents. Our middle schoolers have their own FastDirect accounts and Stephanie always gives her students the opportunity to check their grades and ask questions of her regarding those grades during school. “

Stephanie’s positive energy is infectious and her passion is inspirational.

What is your favorite part of being a teacher?

I love sharing my faith with the kids and I love teaching literature. For example, we study the holocaust and “To Kill a Mockingbird” each year and it’s exciting to see them learn about the world and then to apply it to their life.

Describe a day in the life of Stephanie.

Well, I arrive an hour before school, log on to FastDirect

[school information system], enter grades and/or work with the students who come early to work on make-up lessons. Next, we have homeroom. Then I have a planning session with the other middle school teachers. Next, is my time with the 8th grade for periods one, two, and three. We have vocal, spelling, grammar, lit., and writing during that time. Next comes lunch – lunch duty or recess duty. I have the 7th grade in the afternoon. Finally, after school, I meet with Yearbook or work with my kids who might need help.

Wow, that’s a busy schedule! How do you use technology in the classroom?

We’ve been using Google Classroom mostly which makes it easy to share and to comment on writing.

What was your favorite teaching experience this year?

Hmm, that was actually working with the Eighth Grade Student Council. A subcommittee wanted to wear gym clothes during gym class instead of their uniform. At first, the head student wanted to start a petition and get signatures. I encouraged the students to write a proposal addressed to our principal and to be less confrontational with it. Our Principal thought it was so well written that she said yes!

My students had that “I get it” moment. They learned that it’s important to take a good look at the circumstances – to learn about the person they’re asking something of and to use that to work toward their goal.

What is a challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

Working with families to create a better homework environment and offering a way to do it before and after school with me, if needed. Middle school is so hard because students still need parenting, but push away too. So it’s a push-me-pull-me balance… finding the middle between hovering and backing off.

If you didn’t have FastDirect Communications, what would you miss the most?

Computing grades for report cards and the constant parent communications. It’s such an effective communication tool. It’s especially great because they can see grades online and don’t have to wait till report card time. I also like how they can see my grade book notes. A quick and easy way to watch progress.

Learn more about the FastDirect GradeBook!


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