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Sharon High French Teacher Part of Special State Class

Kathy Turner is among six finalists for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.

French teacher Kathy Turner has brought some students to Quebec and others to France this year.

A state honor might come out of a Boston trip Monday.

Ten experts are interviewing the six 2012-2013 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year finalists.

The panel will recommend a candidate to Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who will announce the winner on May 8, National Teacher Day, the state agency said Wednesday in a press release.

"Even if I am not that person, I am more than thrilled to have gotten to this point," Turner said during an interview in her classroom Wednesday.

"Teaching is my life. It's nice to have this recognition of my passion."

The Patrick-Murray Administration administers the Teacher of the Year program with Hannaford Supermarkets.

"The program annually recognizes excellence in teaching across the Commonwealth by selecting a teacher who exemplifies the dedication, commitment and positive contributions of educators statewide. The Massachusetts Teacher of the Year automatically becomes the state’s candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Program," according to the press release

Turner said Sharon Public Schools Foreign Language Coordinator Kristina Dahlen nominated her for the state honor in early February.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education then assigned Turner homework: submit a resume', three two-page essays and a letter of recommendation from the school principal, Turner says.

Turner said she learned in mid-March that she was among 10 semi-finalists.

And had more homework: two more essays; a videotape of one of her classes, and her analysis of that session; and two more letters of recommendation.

"It was an interesting reflective process, and it was interesting to be able to think about my own teaching," said Turner, who's in her 18th year at Sharon High.

"It was also interesting to be able to verbalize and discuss some of the issues that I see."

Traveling was one issue that Turner handled during the application period.

"The thing that complicates this is that I just went on a two-week exchange to France," she said.

"In February, I had just come off of organizing a trip for seniors to Quebec, and I was now preparing for the exchange."

A childhood experience in her native Northbridge inspired Turner to teach.

"My first day of eighth-grade French class, I went home and I said to my parents that I was going to be a French teacher," she recalled.

"My parents didn't speak French. We never had travelled. I have absolutely no idea what happened that day in French class. But, my teacher was very dynamic, bouncing around the room that day."

Turner is energetic about her career.

"I love being in the classroom. I love interacting with students," she said.

"In a lot of ways, I learn as much as I teach. It's not just about teaching. I'm a teacher and a learner, and my students are also in a way teachers. Every day, I learn something from them."

Abigail Marsters April 26, 2012 at 11:20 AM
A well deserved honor!

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