A Creekside Elementary School teacher has a story for almost everything.
If Anne Wilson is teaching her fourth-grade students about World War II, she has a story about D-Day. Math lessons come with a story about why America doesn’t use the metric system.
And a folk tale passed down from generation to generation always draws a crowd at the school’s annual storybook night.
Her storytelling is one of the reasons Wilson was named the Franklin Teacher of the Year, principal Mark Heiden said.
“She is able to take current events, fictional events, and makes sure students understand,” he said.
Wilson has taught at Creekside for almost two decades. Most of that time was spent teaching first-graders.
But a few years ago, Wilson decided she wanted a change and began teaching high ability fourth-graders.
She wanted to work with a new curriculum and was ready for a change in grades, Wilson said.
“You just want to keep getting better,” she said.
And she wanted to focus more on social studies, to coincide with her bachelor’s degree in history.
Wilson graduated from DePauw University with a degree in history, thinking she was going to have some sort of job in law after she graduated. But she took education classes after being inspired by a family friend who was an engaging teacher, she said.
Her breaks from college were split volunteering in classrooms and in law offices. More time in the classroom made her want to be a teacher. More time in a law office steered her away from that career, she said.
After graduating from DePauw, she went for her masters in education from National Louis University in Chicago. She has been an educator ever since.
One of her favorite moments as an educator is with first-grade students, who start the school year with minimal reading and writing skills, she said. The change in those skills from the start of the school year to the end is staggering and one of the most dramatic improvements in education, she said.
Seeing that dramatic change year after year is one of the reasons she got such a thrill from teaching students at the start of their school career, she said.
Then Wilson moved to teaching the high ability fourth grade class. This year she has the same class she had three years earlier in first grade.
“I think the kids see that we are family in this classroom,” she said.
Part of the reason why Wilson is an effective teacher is because she makes her students feel like family, Heiden said.
“It means they truly do understand that they are important to the classroom,” he said.
If Wilson sees a student struggling with schoolwork or a personal issue, she will always be sure to write them a note to check on them and make sure they are doing OK, she said.
She wants to let them know that someone cares, she said.
And her top goal is to work her students on subjects they struggle with so they become beloved subjects by the end of the school year. For example, a poem by a student who struggled with writing will get a spot on her wall.
A stack of recommendations from students filled out her teacher of the year application from the school.
When students heard about her winning Teacher of the Year, they organized a standing ovation when Wilson walked into the classroom.
“That was most moving of all, to see these students who I truly love standing and applauding,” she said.
Name: Anne Wilson
Occupation: Fourth grade teacher at Creekside Elementary School
Honor: Named Franklin Community School Teacher of the Year.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from DePauw University; masters in education from National Louis University