Recently, the six schools in the Milford School District announced their nominees for Teacher of the Year. The nominees will compete for the title of District Teacher of the Year which will be announced in May. Benjamin Banneker Elementary’s Todd French is proud to have been chosen as the nominee for the 2016-’17 school year.
French grew up in Milford, graduating from Milford High School in 1999 and has been teaching at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School for the last six years. He has taught grades 3, 4 and 5 during his time at Banneker and has coached soccer at Milford High School for the last 9 years as well as Golf. At Banneker, French is involved with National Elementary Honor Society and the newly established Chess Club.
Working among many professionals he looks up to, French has stated that being named Teacher of the Year at Banneker is a tremendous honor. “Banneker is an excellent school and I get to learn from so many outstanding professionals and students every day,” he said. “I don’t teach for accolades, but being recognized is always a good feeling.”
As French began in education as a substitute teacher in 2008, he quickly realized that he enjoyed being in the classroom and believes that the profession chose him. “I believed that I could have a positive impact on the youth of our community if I was a teacher,” he said. After getting a Master’s Degree in education from Wilmington University, French quickly entered the classroom full-time. “Teaching and coaching in this community has been perfect and I see myself continuing to do so for a long time,” he said.
In the field of education, there are many exciting experiences that French enjoys but one that stands above the rest. “…establishing relationships with the students and seeing them grow and accomplish their goals is the best part of my job,” he said. “Teaching is extremely rewarding. There is no greater feeling than when a student comes back after years away from your classroom and remembers something that was taught or shares a memory that had a positive influence on their life.”
French says he believes that most teachers just want to teach their students and that unfortunately, sometimes federal and state policies handcuff educators. “The education landscape seems to be an ever changing idea and having to constantly adapt is a tough but necessary skill. Wearing many hats every single day can also be a challenge,” said French. “Every student is different and adapting to their needs is imperative. In the same day a teacher might have to take on the role of a counselor, a nurse, a parent, a mentor, an educator, etc.”
Those challenges do not deter him from focusing on what inspires him to continue his career in education. “Like most educators, my inspiration comes from the students that I teach,” said French. “The students’ challenges and successes are what drive me to better myself within the teaching profession.”
For new and aspiring teachers, French wants them to understand that the “job is tiring, the hours that you put in will sometimes go unnoticed, recognition for hard work is few and far between, but the real reward comes in seeing students grow and achieve their goals,” he said. “I would like the public to know that a school is only as good as the support it receives from the parents and community. I would encourage the public to support local schools and teachers in any way that they can.”
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.