Stephanie Wizniak is a second-grade teacher at St. Hubert Catholic School in Hoffman Estates, where she's been on the faculty for seven years.
Q: What do you like about teaching in a parochial school? What educational opportunities can you offer in your classroom that might not work in a public school setting?
A: I love teaching in a parochial school because I have the opportunity to educate the whole child. I am able to use faith to foster a sense of respect and love that public schools may not allow.
As a faculty member of St. Hubert, we experience a strong sense of family and community. This allows us to go well beyond the classroom and provides for a strong partnership with parents.
Our academic program allows me to develop instruction that is "child-centered," where teachers are given the freedom to be independent and develop differentiated instruction. I enjoy the opportunity to use unique techniques to teach a rigorous curriculum.
Q: With the school year drawing to a close, what is your goal for your students as they leave your classroom?
A: As my students leave second grade, my goal is for them to leave having had a positive learning experience, as well as a good foundation in academics and faith.
I hope my students are able to use the knowledge they have gained this year to continue on their educational journey and continue to embrace their learning.
Q: What was your best teaching moment from the past school year and how did you pull it off?
A: There are many small and amazing teaching moments that happen every day.
One particular moment I remember this year is when one of my struggling readers came running across the room shouting, "I can read," because he had finally finished his first chapter book.
This moment wasn't about my student learning how to read, it was about the sense of pride he felt at such an amazing accomplishment. Every time I see my students overcome a struggle, I am filled with pride.
Q: What's on your summer to-do list?
A: This summer, I'm looking forward to horseback riding in Arizona, reading as many books as possible, and spending time outdoors with family and friends.