Weaver, Liberty’s ‘Teacher of the Year,’ allows students to ‘own’ learning

Rachel Weaver is the 2015 "Teacher of the Year" at Liberty Middle School. She teaches seventh-grade accelerated language arts and eighth-grade reading lab. (CONTRIBUTED)
Rachel Weaver is the 2015 “Teacher of the Year” at Liberty Middle School. She teaches seventh-grade accelerated language arts and eighth-grade reading lab. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Rachel Weaver, who teaches seventh-grade accelerated language arts and eighth-grade reading lab, is “Teacher of the Year” at Liberty Middle School.

She has served on the Differentiated Instruction Team and hosted professional development sessions on this subject.

“In the past few months, I’ve really enjoyed providing students with an opportunity to take more ownership in their learning. I had them create their own unit of study according to their individual strengths and weaknesses in the skills they needed to master,” Weaver said.

She simply provided resources and approaches “to tackling their specific skills. The unit was designed around a novel. Students found it challenging to develop their own unit, but I love the fact that they set up their own purposes.”

The major purpose concerned “real-life themes that we experience each time we awake to a new day,” Weaver said.

“Hands down,” Weaver’s favorite time is day-to-day working with her students. “I love them because I learn from them. They actually make me a better person.”

Conversely, every day at school brings “its own set of challenges. I pray for direction on how to professionally handle different tasks in a way that honors the Lord, my family, friends and Madison City Schools,” Weaver said.

During her own schooling, Weaver always will cherish one teacher — her grandmother, formerly a special education teacher. “When she shared stories about time with her students, I could always hear how much she loved her students and the special bond she possessed not only with them but their parents as well.”

Her grandmother’s stories inspired Weaver even as a child. Weaver realized the importance of building “relationships with people from all walks of life. I am still in the process of practicing this simple idea in my daily life.”

At Alabama A&M University, Weaver earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education.

Her husband Anthony works for Appleton Learning in Huntsville City Schools. Their sons are three-year-old Noah and one-year-old Malachi.

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