Best Prof. - Ann Teberg, EWU
She teaches potential teachers how to teach. That's how Ann Teberg describes her job in the education department at Eastern Washington University. Still, this longtime teacher --and teacher of teachers -- isn't sure why she was lifted above the hundreds of nominees for this category to the level of Best in the Inland Northwest. She runs her classes in a non-traditional manner, with lots of role-playing to allow teachers-in-the-making to discover what works for them and what doesn't. But in the end, she guesses that teaching students are the most dedicated students there are, which could account for her loyal following.
Teberg, who grew up in the Spokane Valley, went to school at WSU, Whitworth and WSU again for her Ed.D. (like a Ph.D. in education). She taught for 10 years at Freeman Elementary; she has taught junior high, gifted courses and even remedial. She even worked for a year at a small private school in California. She's been at EWU for eight years.
Now she teaches teachers how to teach youngsters to read -- something the nation's education system has struggled with in the past decade. What does Teberg think of the various new reading systems, like phonics, for example, that seem to spring up every year?
"All the new programs have a piece missing," says Teberg "and every program has a different piece missing. So the best solution is to use a combination, and that's because you have a combination of learners in your room. So it's best to learn lots of ways to teach and find out what works best for each kid."
But that may not account for troublesome kids and the social issues that have crept into the classrooms. How do teachers deal with that?
"There are an awful lot of responsibilities beyond reading and writing that teachers have to take on today," says Teberg. "I still think they're taking on too much, and it should be turned back to the families. That's not a good answer, I know, because there are families that just won't do it. But families need to know that they have a big part in what happens in the classroom."
Still, Teberg says education is one of the most rewarding professions out there, and she is reassured every year as she sees the enthusiasm of tomorrow's teachers in her classroom in Cheney.
"If you have a genuine interest in helping people work to their potential, then teaching is the place to be."
Second place: Scott Finney, EWU
Third place: Jerry O'Neal, SFCC