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Teacher Of The Year 'Known For Unconventional Techniques'

President Obama gave the 2012 National Teacher of the Year trophy to Rebecca Mieliwocki this morning at the White House.
Jewel Samad
AFP/Getty Images
President Obama gave the 2012 National Teacher of the Year trophy to Rebecca Mieliwocki this morning at the White House.

Rebecca Mieliwocki, a seventh-grade English teacher in Burbank, Calif., was just honored at the White House by being named National Teacher of the Year.

In expressing her thanks, Mieliwocki offered this thought: "I am not the best teacher in America. There isn't just one."

And she went on to talk about the hard work and dedication displayed by most American teachers.

According to Los Angeles' Daily Breeze:

"Mieliwocki is known for unconventional techniques developed during her 13-year teaching career, the last nine spent at Burbank Middle School.

"She inscribes playing cards with students' names, with the luck of the draw determining who gets called on to read in class. A ding from a hotel service bell on her desk signals a correct answer.

"Mieliwocki also understands the fast pace of information bombarding today's adolescents and has set up her lesson plan to capture and retain their attention. She might play music on her iPod while students work on a classroom assignment or inject a story about growing up in Napa, where her parents were both teachers."

Monday, Mieliwocki told CBS This Morning that she believes her "number one job ... is to educate [her students] and to give them the skills they need to be successful" in any career. And she tries to do that by being "creative [and] lively."

She also wants to be evaluated, Mieliwocki said: "I need to know how good I'm doing."

Mieliwocki said she enjoys teaching middle schoolers in part because "deep down inside I'm 12 years old." And, she added, "I'm happy to be there every day."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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