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Catching Up with an Exceptional Science Teacher at Albany Park Multicultural Academy

08 May 2024

Ms. Towner always strives to make learning fun and engaging for her students. 

Albany Park Teacher

Five years ago, we introduced you to Ms. Towner, an exceptional science teacher who always strives to make learning fun and engaging for her students. That certainly hasn’t changed, but our world has quite a bit. Learn more about what she’s been up to below. 

You’re still at Albany Park. What keeps you coming back each year? 

Working with middle schoolers always keeps you on your toes. They can be a challenge, but I enjoy teaching them. Even when you aren’t seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, a student will always bring some sunshine. My students are my “why” and why I keep going. 

How have you changed in the past five years and how have you stayed the same? 

I think I’m still known for my consistency and for being firm with my students. I may have a reputation for being a little tough, but I think consistency is so important. Over the past several years, I’ve been mixing the new with the old in terms of my instruction. 

A great example of this has been how students learn about force and motion. This has always been something we’ve studied, but I’ve changed how we study it based on the experiences that my students are bringing with them to the classroom. 

What did you learn from having to teach remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

It was so hard. It really pushed me to look at engaging students from a new perspective, which I’ve certainly made a priority this school year. For example, for Earth Day this year, we focused on ways that we can reduce how much plastic we use. We turned plastic water bottles into planters, and my students enjoyed that a lot. 

What advice would you give to new teachers? 

Do not take things personally. Students are coming to school and may be dealing with a lot of personal stuff, so, as a teacher, you should focus on providing them with support rather than asking them why they dropped the ball. I always want to know what my students’ goals are so I can help them reach those goals. 

What message do you want your students to take away from this school year? 

I want my students to continue to ask themselves a key question: Am I proud of where I am right now? If the answer is yes, I want them to continue doing what they are doing to help themself thrive. And, if the answer is no, I want them to figure out what they are going to do about it while knowing that I am always here for them. 

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