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Teachers not only teach, they inspire

teachers who inspire I recently had the opportunity to serve as a panel member for the Woodinville High School Senior I-Search Project.
   This project was started four years ago by English teacher Mary Britton-Simmons, an English teacher at Woodinville High School. She began using the I-Search format utilized by colleges to encourage career exploration and adapted it to her high school English class. Two years ago, she added oral presentations before a community panel to the process.
   At this time, most senior English students at Woodinville High participate. Each student picks a topic, asks a specific question, and researches it, performing library and Internet research, interviewing experts in the field, and in some cases doing research of their own. They compile all the information they have gathered, subject it to analysis, and form an opinion based on the research. They then must present their findings with visual aids to a panel, such as the one I attended. Their teacher evaluates their paper, and the panel their presentation.
   What most impressed me was the passion with which they approached the assignment. They all chose topics which were important to them personally, and about which they felt compelled to achieve a higher level of understanding.
   Three of the students chose career-related topics and two chose psycho-social ones in which they had a personal interest. They thoroughly researched their topic, analyzed the information, and presented it well.
   But what stood out most was that each student's future will be positively impacted by the analysis they have made of this question of importance to them.
   These students have learned that they can use their education to solve problems they encounter in everyday life. That knowledge is the basis of problem-solving and decision-making. I saw the enthusiasm in their eyes and heard the confidence in their voices.
   Thank you, teachers of Woodinville High School, for not just teaching our children, but inspiring them.

George Cozzetto, Woodinville