December 2022 Winner - Robin Lenox:(Southeast High School)


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Meridian Star Article

In a time when traditional teaching is changing, Robin Lenox is finding new and inventive ways to reach her students.

Lenox, who teaches English at Southeast Lauderdale High School, is the recipient of the Golden Apple Award for December.

"Receiving this award is a complete surprise," said Lenox. "There are many qualified teachers, and I've only been doing this for four years, so I don't feel qualified."

"It's challenging because many things happen throughout the day, and sometimes it just doesn't feel like I'm making a difference. To know that deep down inside that somebody feels that way means a lot, so this is a really good surprise," Lenox added.

A graduate of Newton High School, Lenox never thought she would lean towards teaching, but after a wake-up call from her parents, she received her degree from MSU-Meridian.

"I've always had this innate feeling that I wanted to teach, but I never left school wanting to be a teacher," she said. "It wasn't until my parents looked at me at 21 and said it's time for me to get my life together."

"I just decided that being an English teacher would be it, and I went for it," she said. "I believe I needed to live life a little before deciding on a career, but ever since, it's been pretty great."

When Lenox isn't teaching literature, she's coaching Colorguard and Southeast's Esports team, which will kick off in the spring.

Winning the Golden Apple Award confirms that Lenox made the right decision to teach. She said receiving the award is something she will always cherish, because it's only given to teachers who make a difference in students' lives.

"This award means a lot because it shows the good of being in education and validates us amongst all these really difficult things that we experience every day. We as teachers are doing something right, and it does mean a lot to be noticed and to be valued," she emphasized.

Maintaining positive energy in the classroom is important to Lenox, as she tries to keep a positive atmosphere, giving her students the freedom to relax mentally and physically.

"My favorite thing about being a teacher is I get the opportunity to have a different mindset of trying to be the teacher that I needed in school," Lenox said.

"I never wanted to be that traditional teacher that doesn't have a relationship with their students, but rather keeps the mindset that these are humans and we're trying to prepare them for the next step," she said. "Being that adult that treats them as a human and tries to help them for whatever they may encounter outside of these walls keeps me motivated every day."

"I think it's been a great avenue to being an advocate for these students because I think there's a large disconnect between adults and teenagers," Lenox said. "Being in the trenches with the students, and actually learning about them and what they have to say, breaks all of these things society says about them."

As students begin to graduate and go to college, Lenox hopes she's made an impact on her them, and not just in the classroom.

"My goal as a teacher is of course to teach them, but I want to offer more than that," Lenox said. "I want to teach my students how to be a good human being, how to navigate through life, and just be a decent human with good social skills."