2023 Hall of Fame

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2023 Teacher of the Year

William Lee

Tom C. Clark High School, San Antonio, TX, SWCOLT

William Lee

All students are unique and deserve a learning environment to grow emotionally, socially, and mentally. As a teacher of a world language, I’ve been very blessed to have the opportunity to see them progress from levels 1 through 4. I am fortunate to see them grow from shy little first-year students and become mature thinkers and problem solvers. I cherish the relationship I have with all of my kids and want very much for all of them to reach their full potential.

When I first moved to the United States in 7th grade, not knowing English presented unique challenges. As I started learning English, it opened my eyes to the different societal norms around me. This experience made me keenly aware of how important it is to be able to communicate. I always urge all of my kids to find real-world connections to what they are studying in class, and I show them how the writings of ancient authors still have relevance today. I firmly believe in the benefits of language learning because I experienced firsthand how my life was positively impacted by learning multiple languages. I want to open up my kids’ eyes to the world around them and the culture beyond their immediate surroundings. My teaching philosophy and techniques are reflective of my diverse student population. By incorporating technology tools such as Blooket and Gimkit, by having students collaborate on play productions and projects, by having students move around the classroom and sing songs, by coming up with silly mnemonic devices, I recognize that each kid is unique and learns differently. Merging content with various mediums allows students to explore and grow at different levels simultaneously. By making learning relevant, providing my students with a safe environment where they feel a sense of belonging, and loving and caring for my kids unconditionally, I aim to help them become lifelong learners.

We are all humans living together in the same world. We need to understand each other, love each other, and learn from each other. By learning world languages, whether ancient or modern, students become more aware of cultural references and differences. The techniques I use to help deepen students’ self-sufficient skills strengthen what they need to learn in and out of the classroom. I genuinely care about unlocking each of my students' potential to become lifelong learners and explorers of this vast world. As an educator, I witness students’ development through the learning process, from introducing new materials to implementing their understanding into real-life situations. Learning languages encompass all that we do, from developing an understanding of each other to teaching empathy to our next generation. As my students move on, I hope that I have opened the door for them to embrace the uncomfortable; to make learning experiences that push their limits, and become global learners and global teachers and leaders who will make positive contributions to humanity.

2023 Hall of Fame Nominees

Trudy Anderson

Nathan Hale School, New Haven, CT

Claudia Elliott

Paxon School for Advanced Studies Jacksonville, FL

Armando Johnson

Springfield Central High School, Springfield, MO

Kristi Senden

Chugiak High School, Anchorage, AK