Katherine Pavlik has been named the Teacher of the Year for Benjamin Banneker Elementary. Teaching in Milford since 2008, she started at the former Milford Middle School teaching sixth through eighth grade Science as a TAM and Resource teacher. She transitioned to Milford Central Academy when it opened, teaching Science, Social Studies and Math as Special Education Teacher. In 2015 Pavlik started teaching forth grade at Benjamin Banneker.
Pavlik states that she always had great teachers growing up that were there to share in her joys and also provide comfort in her tough times. “They also pushed me to work hard and achieve more than I thought I could,” she said, “I wanted to pay it forward to others what so many great teachers did for me throughout my schooling. I also grew up helping my younger sibling with their school work so teaching seemed like a natural fit.”
Nominated by a student for Teacher of the Year makes the honor extra special for Pavlik. For her, the challenges in her profession are also her favorite part about teaching. “My favorite part is building that trust and rapport with students,” she said. “The famous quote “They do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care” rings true. It is much easier to get students to push themselves and develop grit when they trust you and believe you when you tell them it will get easier or you can do this. Sometimes it is harder to build that trust but that is always my goal, and I continue to work on it even after they have left my classroom.”
Pavlik comments that teaching is not an easy profession, but the rewards that the students receive are well worth it. “It is in school where they first learn how to work together, set goals, and start to become self-sufficient,” she said. “ They learn to prioritize and compromise, and start to prepare for their future. As educators we go above and beyond the curriculum and help students become positive members of their community.”
Moving forward in her career, Pavlik would like to pursue a Masters in curriculum. She has done work with Universal Design for Learning groups and would like to continue development with that program. “I love how they make sure all students can learn the same material even if it has to be presented in a different style, or their products that show their learning are different,” she said. “It also provides a partnership around the school with not only teachers but specialists that may have pulled kids out before push into the classroom and assist with the learning. The best part is it allows all students to be experts and focus on their strengths.”
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