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Jenny Chung Receives William Spratt Award for Excellence in Teaching Middle School Social Studies

Jenny Chung Receives William Spratt Award for Excellence in Teaching Middle School Social Studies
Posted on 05/20/2016

J. ChungCongratulations to Jenny Chung, our 8th gr. Social Studies teacher, for being this year's Massachusetts recipient of the William Spratt Award for Excellence in Teaching Middle School Social Studies! She was honored by the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies at the New England Regional Conference last month. Below is a portion of her prepared speech from that night.

"There’s a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote I always give to new teachers, Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. 

I was one of the hundreds of people injured at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. One month later when I returned to the classroom, this quote had new meaning for me. Each day is truly new. And a gift. As teachers we get 180 days with 45-50 minutes a day to have an influence on each student. To take risks. To push boundaries. I ask myself, “How do I take that limited time and help students think about the world or themselves in a different way? That's the challenge I have with each new day. It's also an opportunity. I try to keep that at the front of my mind.

But teaching doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I work with some dedicated and passionate people. I’m grateful to have a teaching community that provides me the autonomy and support to try new teaching strategies. One of my favorite strategies over the past few years has been the practice of mindfulness with students. We start each class with three minutes of silently observing breath to develop focus and gratitude. 

It’s that gratitude that helps my students and I feel successful in the classroom. It’s with gratitude that I accept this honor. Thank you."