Vicksburg Junior High’s Amy Schwartz: Teaching is my destiny

Published 7:59 pm Friday, January 27, 2017

Seeing her students succeed is important to Amy Schwartz.

The seventh grade English language arts teacher has been named the Teacher of the Year for Vicksburg Junior High School.

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Schwartz likes to use individualized lessons that are tailored toward her students’ strengths and weaknesses, and it is her goal to teach her students to be lifelong learners. She wants to prepare her students for high school and beyond.

“It’s important to me that students understand their strengths and weaknesses when building their educational platforms. Students are guided into individualized lessons to move from weak to solid or satisfactory to exceptional,” she said. “The standards that my students are furnished with are designed to prepare students for success in college and/or careers.”

In class, students work on reading, writing and comprehension.

“I ensure that students are connected to the real world by reading different nonfiction texts daily,” Schwartz said. “I incorporate and promote a flourishing vocabulary.”

Seeing her students grow and learn is important to her. Comprehending a lesson can be a challenge for students, but once the puzzle pieces fit together, she enjoys seeing the success her students feel.

Schwartz also is open to feedback from her students, and they have an open dialogue where students tell her what types of lessons they get the most out of.

“Through this process, I teach and guide learning, and students provide me with actionable feedback used to adjust my teaching and learning strategies to improve students attainment of learning,” Schwartz said.

Originally planning to be a nurse, Schwartz’s time working at a daycare straight out of high school changed her ambition to teaching children. She then earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling from Alcorn State University.

“I teach because teaching is my destiny,” she said.

Schwartz was the preschool director at God’s Little Angels Learning Center for eight years before becoming the art teacher at Warren Central Intermediate School. After three years of teaching art, she moved to VJHS and spent one year as a history teacher and the past four years teaching ELA.

She said she still incorporates elements of art in her English lessons today. Schwartz has also incorporated history into her current classroom by having the students discuss current events regularly. She is also a member of the Mississippi Reading Association.

The first students she taught at WCI graduated from high school in May. She said seeing them walk across the stage to graduate gave her an indescribable joy.

Her husband is a physical education teacher and the basketball coach at Warren Central Junior High. Her daughter is a sophomore cheerleader, and her son is a senior football player at Warren Central High School.

Twenty-one teachers in Warren County were nominated for teacher of the year. The Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce has selected a panel of educators to interview each school’s chosen teacher and will choose one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year on Feb. 15. Both teachers will receive $1,000.

Today’s story is the fourth in a series of articles on each teacher up for the honor of the chamber’s Teacher of the Year.