Judith Woods, Seventh Grade Science Teacher, was named Milford Central Academy’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. On Monday, May 19 at the Milford Board of Education meeting, Woods was also named the 2014 Milford School District Teacher of the Year. At the Milford school for three years, Judith has been teaching middle school science for twenty-one years.
Acknowledging the fact that she did not enjoy school as a child, Woods went into the profession of teaching because she wanted to make a difference in the way that students were being taught. After receiving her Bachelors Degree in Science from West Chester University, she started substitute teaching in Florida. She noticed that not much had changed in the way that education was being carried out and she began teaching middle school science in 1990 to challenge that classical idea of learning in the classroom.
“I wanted to make a difference in how science was taught,” commented Woods. “In addition to lecture I wanted the kids to be hands-on and see the real life applications of what they were learning.”
Starting her Milford career at the Milford Central Academy in 2009, Judith imparts to her students the importance of learning science and its applications in every day life. By hosting a lab portion of her class, she makes science accessible as students are able to experience what they are learning.
“I am inviting them to participate, I want my students to see that everyone can learn science if they make the effort,” commented Woods. “I allow them to see that everything around them is science, almost all the technology kids used is applied from science.”
In addition to learning subject matter such as biology, geology, and ecology, Woods also teaches them life skills including how to learn, study and be successful. She demonstrates to them that by working hard, they can accomplish anything in their lives. Woods admits that it can be difficult for her students at the age of thirteen to remember that.
“To be a middle school teacher you have to remember what it is like to be thirteen, you have to be able to live it,” commented Woods. “They waiver back and forth between the responsibilities and acting as adults and children. Even if they do not succeed you have to offer them opportunities to do better.”
Woods is also a sponsor of the Student Council at Milford Central Academy. The organization hosts several dances throughout the year that support non-profit organizations such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Adopt-a-Family and the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club. Under her direction, these students learn what it means to be a responsible citizen.
“It is important to be involved in any setting you are in so that you have a say in any culture you are a part of,” stated Woods. “I teach them that it is their community and they can have a positive impact with the way they are living.”
Woods will now compete at the state level, against her peers from across state of Delaware public schools, where the winner of that competition will face distinguished teachers from the region and around the nation.