October 2018 Winner - Patti Christophe:(Patrician Academy)


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Meridian Star Article

BUTLER, Alabama — Patti Christopher is known in her church, family and school as being a hard worker.

That's how Patrician Academy Headmaster Billy Burnham described Christopher, who was surprised Monday to learn that she had been chosen the Golden Apple Teacher of the Month for October.

"In this day and time of trying to figure out how to work smarter and work with gadgets, I don't think there is a substitute for hard work and a good work ethic," Burnham said. "I think Patti has an end in sight or a vision for what she wants the outcomes to look like. "With that in mind, she is very good at finding different ways for all the children to get to that point."

Christopher, a seasoned educator for 31 years, teaches first grade at Patrician Academy. She said she was overwhelmed, excited, and appreciative when she heard her name called.

"It was such an honor to be recognized for the work you have done," Christopher said. "But, my students are what keeps me motivated. I want to instill the desire to learn in them, so they will love to learn.

A letter nominating Christopher for the award praised her abilities.

Patrician Academy teacher Patti Christopher was surprised at a ceremony Monday as she was chosen the Golden Apple Teacher for October.

"She is very deserving of this honor because of her passion for teaching, innovative ideas, and caring heart," the letter stated. "It takes a lot of passion, dedication and motivation to teach any child, especially a first grader.

"Working early mornings, late nights, every weekend, and all summer long, her passion for teaching goes above and beyond any other teacher I have ever met. Every morning she has the biggest smile on her face and tells me often how much she "loves her job."

A good foundation

Having a good foundation in math and reading is something Christopher strives to make sure her students achieve.

"If they get behind in first grade it is very difficult for them to get caught up, " Christopher said. "I try to make it fun where they enjoy learning and not where they dread coming to my class."

Christopher also stays on the cutting edge of technology – honing her skills as an educator by attending conferences and workshops during the summer months as well as the school year. She recently purchased Chrome books for her classroom and incorporates writing into her daily classroom instruction.

"Things are always changing, so I can't teach the way I did 30 years ago, that is why I try to attend a lot of workshops and professional development conferences – I try to stay on the cutting edge of education," Christopher said. "Children change, too, so you have to change with the times."

Christopher, who has no plans to retire anytime soon, said she has been blessed to have worked with some good principals and colleagues throughout her career.

"The administration and co workers have a big impact on how happy you are at your job, it makes a big difference," Christopher said. "They are always so supportive and it takes a great support system to be successful and happy in your job."

Patrician Academy teacher Patti Christopher received the Golden Apple Teacher award for October at a surprise ceremony Monday. Barbara Jones, director of the Meridian Community College Foundation, left, Christoper, and Billy Burnham, Headmaster Patrician Academy, right.

Christopher's dedication has resonated with her students, such as Oakleigh Minor and Luke Linder.

"She is great and I love her," Minor said. "She is a good teacher and her winning is so cool."

"I think it is cool, too, and I am so proud of her," Linder said. "We have a lot of fun in her class with a lot of activities."

The veteran educators advice to new teachers?

"Be prepared to work, and have the passion for it – if you don't find another profession," Christopher said. "You need to love the children and what you do and be willing to work as hard as you can. I teach every student how I want mine to be taught."

One thing Christopher wants her students to remember about her?

"My compassion for teaching, and that I pushed them to be the very best they can be, not only in first grade but throughout life," she said.