“She teaches us a lot of skills … and that there is more than one way to solve a problem.”
Out of the mouths of third-graders… This quote was offered by Ryan Furman, a third-grader at Lord Baltimore Elementary, about why his teacher, Tammy Stong, deserves to be the school’s Teacher of the Year. And, really, could it have been said any better?
How many times in life do people give up because the one way they thought to figure out a particular problem didn’t work? What if they had had a teacher who instilled in them that there are many ways to look at things and many ways to get to the answer?
Stong said she is “honored” to have received the recognition, and that she really enjoys teaching and feels a strong bond to her students.
“You think of them as your children,” she said. “Socially, academically, you want them to succeed.”
Thinking about students holistically like that – as little people who need to learn much more than just academics – she said, at recess, “nobody plays alone.”
“A student has to come to school and be comfortable, or they are not going to perform for you.”
And one of her first rules on the board is “to be kind and respectful.”
Besides the life lessons that her third-graders learn, academically, third grade is a year of leaps and bounds in reading and comprehension. It also is a year of fractions and multiplication and extras, such as cursive. And, it is the first year they begin standardized testing. The students are tested in the beginning of the year, in the middle and again at the end of the year – something Stong said helps a lot in evaluation of her students. They also get immediate computerized results, which she said helps in instruction.
Stong grew up in the area and attended Phillip Showell Elementary and Selbyville Middle schools and graduated from India River High School. She said that, even though she didn’t attend Lord Baltimore as a student, it has always felt like “home.”
After getting her first degree in a computer-related field, Strong went back to get a degree in elementary education from Wilmington College (now University). She then got her master’s degree in literacy – something she said she uses daily. She taught at Georgetown Elementary and Southern Delaware School of the Arts before transferring to Lord Baltimore about 10 years ago.
“I always wanted to be a teacher, and someone tried to talk me out of it. It can be tough, but it is also very rewarding. And this is a great school to teach in. We have a great team.”