For the connections we make

The Classroom Teacher, winter 2014-15

Christine Amerson, 2015 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year Finalist

When you step into “Amerson Field” — that’s TCTA member Christine Amerson’s middle-school classroom — you can’t miss the huge scoreboard. It’s there to remind all who enter that “teamwork happens here.” That’s because Amerson believes in the power of people — namely her students at Victoria ISD’s Harold Cade Middle School — connecting and working together.

“I believe in cooperative, meaningful learning,” says the finalist for 2015 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. “Every group or team is responsible for each other. They work hard to make sure everyone is accountable for their successes.”

Naturally then, Amerson’s ELA teaching playbook is full of maneuvers that foster collaboration and spark excitement. She leads discussions on current events, reads from novels to which students can relate, and helps them analyze poetry through contemporary songs.

“When I first told them we would start a historical fiction unit, I heard the expected moans and grumbles,” Amerson says. “But when I elaborated and told them we would read about a 17-year-old drafted into the Vietnam War, a young lady ripped from her family home, and a 16-year-old executed for standing up against Hitler, their attitudes soon changed.”

It was this enthusiasm and passion for teaching that inspired Amerson’s colleagues at Travis Middle School in Calhoun County ISD, where she taught before moving to VISD to teach in 2014-15, to nominate her for teacher of the year.

See also:

Whitney Crews, 2015 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year

TCTA members named 2015 Regional Teachers of the Year