TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Pam Wilbanks has been teaching life lessons through literature for over 40 years

Published 5:53 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

Pam Wilbanks teaches at Porters Chapel Academy.

Wilbanks is a finalist for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year award.

The Chamber will select and announce one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the Chamber Luncheon in February.

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The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.

“Teaching life lessons is such an important part of what I do as a teacher,” Wilbanks explains. “I found that a literary piece not only teaches life lessons but it also teaches a little bit about history, culture, religion as well as a bevy of other meaningful subjects.”

Wilbanks has been teaching English since 1981. Wilbanks also has held several Administrative roles in her 42 years in education.

When asked how she ensures her students are connected with the world around them she had this to say; I have found that when my classes delve into a history discussion it will generally lead to a discussion about current events.

“Leading meaningful current event discussions in class helps my students grasp what is happening in our world daily,” Wilbanks said.

When asked about what strategies she uses to bolster student achievement and growth, Wilbanks said,  “I require notetaking and when I give a quiz, I always allow my students to use those notes on the quiz.”

Another strategy she finds is a key to student growth and achievement is to practice, whether her students are writing essays or memorizing vocabulary words, practice helps them improve.

Her most moving educational experience was when she chose a student with the most improved award.

He wrote her a letter thanking her and promising to rise above his struggles and make something of himself. “He said I had motivated him to succeed, ” Wilbanks said.

“I teach because it is a service that is needed by our students,” Wilbanks said.