Celebrating a Career of Teaching: Combining Expertise and Compassion
By Lisa S. Leach, Director, Instructional Design and Curriculum Development
With mixed emotions, we announce that Myrna Parsons is retiring from TTU K-12. She has steadfastly served our students for two decades and we are saddened to be losing her as a teacher. Still, we celebrate her many successes in both the traditional and the online classroom.
Myrna has dedicated her career in education to this fundamental teaching philosophy: "All students can learn – maybe not at the same pace nor in the same way." She knows that learning has to be appealing to the student and related to their life experiences. She believes the teacher is the key to the attitudes of students and to the classroom atmosphere. Teaching is a relationship – not just a job – and the teacher must be an encourager to all students. Students appreciate a teacher who holds them to high, yet attainable, expectations and provides the support needed to help them achieve those expectations.
Myrna has developed this philosophy after an amazing career teaching secondary science. She taught middle school life science and high school biology for 32 years and has been a TTU K-12 biology teacher for more than 20 years. She has won numerous teaching awards throughout that time, highlighting the skills she brings to her students' learning experiences. Her commitment to students and her belief in their potential for success have guided hundreds of students to completion of their biology course.
Teaching online presents some challenges for even the most-experienced teachers. Her biggest challenge, she reports, is getting students to read, and read everything assigned. "My students are usually very intelligent and think they may not have to read everything and that they don't really have to study." She regularly reminds them that this is a year-long, two-semester course and that they cannot expect to complete it in two weeks. She also challenges students to organize their time wisely so that they don't have to hurry in order to complete the course at the end. She overcomes these challenges by calling students when necessary and providing quality feedback whenever possible. She regularly speaks with counselors, parents/guardians, in order to keep her students on track.
Her advice to K-12 students: Peruse the entire scope of the course before beginning assignments in order to get a glimpse of the "big picture." Doing this will give perspective on timing assignments. Read everything on every screen. Do not hesitate to contact the instructor if needed, as the support staff may not be able answer biology questions. Work toward finishing the coursework ahead of the completion deadline.
Like all our outstanding TTU K-12 teachers, Myrna's influence extends past specific course concepts. She genuinely cares about students' learning experiences and makes sure they have the necessary support and encouragement for success.
Former TTU K-12 instructor, Myrna Parsons