Foley Wins Teacher of the Year


photo by Amy Hinnant

AP World History teacher Erin Foley helps sophomores Hakim Aburrashid and Diego Garcia with an assignment.

It is finally sixth period, and students have been wearing their ridiculous get-up all day. As students walk into class they see their peers wearing ugly sweaters featuring various historical figures and events. 

AP World History teacher Erin Foley was announced as Teacher of the Year on Monday, Sept. 23, and Ugly Sweater day is just one of the student-centered activities happening in her room all the time. The award looks for teachers who put in extra effort to make the classroom a constructive learning environment and where high expectations are set and achieved with help from the instructor. To get this award, teachers must be nominated by their peers, and chosen in an election court.

“There were 11 other people nominated and it was like a who’s who,” Foley said. “It was just everybody you could think of that was great.”

Foley works hard to consistently improve her philosophy and how she cultivates relationships with her students. 

Foley’s supervisor, assistant principal Gisela Cotto said, “She’s a highly effective teacher, she brings a lot of different strategies into the classroom, she works a lot with groups and has them collaborate so that one student is actually teaching the other students.”

This innovative way of interacting with students allows Foley to teach without being at the front of the classroom, all of the time.

“It’s about every year, you try and make your class more engaging and interactive,” said Foley.

Foley was appreciated by her fellow teachers and students for allowing groups to work through questions and discuss the material on their own, while also circulating to offer assistance to students that require it. This allows students to develop their own thinking process and teamwork skills.

“She showed us fun videos and I remember she mentioned every time we hear Mansa Musa you’ll remember this video,” Gilbert said. “And I really have remembered the video.”

Another video Foley showed to her students was the ever so famous “Fleas on Rats” video that describes the bubonic plague.

“She lectured every now and then, and she did it very well because she engaged our attention. But she also had activities where we would go around the classroom and do something, it was just very entertaining,” junior Logan Irving said.

Foley is now eligible to become the Teacher of the Year for all of Seminole County. Finalists will be announced in March.