Mrs. Kristen Whitlock was my A.P. Psychology teacher during my senior year in high school (2002-2003). I realize that was a long time ago, but I am nominating Mrs. Whitlock because she is STILL teaching me 13 years later.
As a teacher, Mrs. Whitlock sets herself apart as one of the best. She is calm, thorough, attentive to detail, and follows through on planning excellent lessons and assessing her students’ achievements quickly and with a personal touch. These are qualities of a good teacher, but Mrs. Whitlock also cares deeply about her students’ personal lives (she still remembers details about me this many years later) and is incredibly passionate about her subject matter. She stays up-to-date on the latest psychological science and is constantly altering her lessons and materials to reflect the most current information. When it comes to relaying that information to her students, Mrs. Whitlock will stop at nothing to best illustrate difficult concepts. I remember her class vividly for the hands-on demonstrations, tools, and unique supplies she brought in to teach us. Some examples: for our unit on sensation and perception, she brought in blue dye to paint our tongues so that we could see who in our class was a “super taster.” She ordered foods from other countries (like musk-flavored Life Savers from Australia) to demonstrate cultural sensory differences. She conditioned us to salivate to a bell and to speed up our heart rates at the sound of a tapping pencil. Outside of class, she gave us interesting homework assignments, like performing a social experiment on family and friends or creating a model of a neuron out of whatever supplies we could find in our backpacks. She kept our class fresh, surprising, and varied, and as a result, we learned.
Mrs. Whitlock literally changed my life. At the beginning of the school year, I couldn’t even define psychology; by the end of the year, I was well on my way to earning my degree in psychology (which I did in 2006; I graduated with my bachelor’s in 3 years in part because of my A.P. credit from her class). Many years later, I am now teaching my own psychology classes, and I am honored to have Mrs. Whitlock as one of my colleagues. She now leads a professional learning community of which I am a part; her advice, support, and resources have been invaluable to me. She deserves to be recognized for her caring manner, her professional attitude and her commitment to excellence. She is as big of an asset to the teaching profession as she has been to me personally. Kristin Whitlock – David High School
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