Student Nomination Story

Hello, my name is Dinah Hale and I’d like to nominate my teacher, Mrs. Alisha for the National Teacher of The Year. Alisha Kocs teaches 4-6th grade in a Montessori classroom. When I first came in for fourth grade, I didn’t know anyone, and I was anxious about the homework. But Mrs. Alisha interacts with you and makes learning fun! Every year, there’s a theme for the classroom (Middle Ages, Spies, Fallout Shelter, etc.). She will decorate the the whole room and create a yearlong game out of it. Everyone gets to build their own character and team. In a team, everyone can choose a different special ability that will help them when there are battles or weekly disasters in game (Like maybe there’s a flood or the power goes out). The more works you do, the more points you get, and the more points you get, the more settlement items you can buy for your team, when the Trader about once a week. (For the Trader, Mrs. Alisha dresses up in a funny outfit and uses an accent!) At the end of the school year, there’s some sort of a party. And the team with the most settlement items and points gets the best treatment at the party. For example, when I was in fourth grade, we did the Medieval theme. And at the end of the school year, there was a big feast. The team with the most points got all the good food and good utensils, whereas the “Peasants” got the peasant food and had to eat with their hands! Last year, after we got out for Christmas break, Mrs. Alisha discovered she had a brain tumor. It was depressing news for all of us. She had to undergo surgery and wasn’t back until late February. But even through brain surgery, she continued to help us. She made one binder for each of her students describing their personality and their needs. To further explain how incredible that is, we have 27 students in our class. She made lesson plans, and step by step instructions for the Substitute teacher. After the surgery, she couldn’t move the whole left side of her body! But she was so strong, and she recovered. The only things the students were talking about is how much we missed her and when she’d come back. One day we were asked to go to the library to take a class photo for Mrs. Alisha. We stood there, smiled, and as soon as the camera clicked, She jumped out from behind a desk and yelled, “Cheese!” We all were so excited! Because of her surgery, her ears were sensitive so we couldn’t yell, but it was no doubt the loudest library visit we’ve ever had. I could go on, but you don’t have all day. So I’ll sum it up in a sentence. Mrs. Alisha: You’ll almost want to get held back a year just to see her again. (In a good way. She’s never let that happen before.)

Dinah Hale

I felt like i had to write two essays for this. Well- at least. I don't know if it's aloud to write two entries, but I couldn't possibly explain it all in one story. So, for her, I will try. I have always struggled with learning. I have OCD, ADHD Anxiety, and Depression. But Mrs. Alisha helped me. She made learning fun, like I explained in my previous essay. She's been a teacher at our school since it opened! She continues to inspire me in so many ways! I was class president, interior designer, and I planned all the class parties and one party for the whole school! Before I met her, I didn't look into more than a week into the future. Now, My plans are to go to Harvard and become the first female President! I email her whenever i have a question, because she's the one person that i know will have an answer. And i talk to her like a friend because she treats me like one. And for once, i'm excited to go to school!

Dinah Hale

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.