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Matthews runs her class like a business

With a background in business administration and communications, Christin Matthews runs her classroom like a small business and gives her students as many real experiences as she can.
“I try to incorporate real-world experiences into as many projects as possible,” she said. “From creating websites for local businesses and organizations to designing flyers and brochures for non-profits, my students are connected to the world around them.”
The technology foundations and web design instructor at St. Aloysius High School is being honored as the school’s Teacher of the Year.
In class, Matthews uses three specific approaches, she has high standards for her students, supports an interactive classroom and incorporates real-world problems. By doing these three things, she said students remain engaged and interested leading a path to success. Her goal is to teach her students how to be successful in the business world.
“I strive to make lessons learned in the classroom applicable to the workplace,” Matthews said. “I educate students as to what employers desire in potential employees and assess their knowledge by implementing a professional workplace approach.”
Matthews’ web design course has created and updated websites for multiple companies and organizations. Working in web design is both creative and technical, allowing students to think critically and develop unique talents. Currently the class is helping Vicksburg Family Development with a website.
Over the past year, her classes have worked with the Warren County Master Gardeners, the Vicksburg Chamber Choir, Rowdy’s Family Restaurant, and Nashville, Tenn. interior design firm Valerie M Design. The class also made brochures for Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center’s first annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk.
“During this project, students became active members of the community, positively impacting Vicksburg and its surrounding areas,” Matthews said.
She said she is open to feedback, praise and constructive criticism when it comes to organizations and businesses assessing her class’s work.
Even in teaching technology, Matthews makes sure her students understand the importance of writing letters. She taught a lesson to her students on how to contact companies about complaints or unsatisfactory experiences by writing professional and respectable letters. Each student researched contact information for a specific company and wrote a letter. Matthews even shared an example of how she once wrote a letter to a company and her product was replaced in return.
“Students realized the importance in contacting a business or organization directly in writing to find a resolution,” she said. “They witnessed how effective a well-written business letter can be.”
The lesson also covered sending messages to businesses through social media.
At St. Al, Matthews wears a number of hats acting as the eighth grade class sponsor, Key Club advisor, webmaster and systems support.
Matthews has an associates degree from Hinds Community College, a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University and an master’s in business administration from Mississippi State University. She received her teaching credentials from the University of Mississippi Teach Mississippi Institute.
“I teach because I recognize a need for real-world application of academic knowledge,” she said.
She is a member of St. Michael Catholic Church, Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg, the Vicksburg Art Association, Walnut Grove Homeowners’ Association, the National Business Education Association, the National Catholic Education Association, the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park.
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 ninth in a series of articles on each teacher up for the honor of the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year.