TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Kaynetra Tucker empowers her students to reach for their dreams

Published 10:33 am Saturday, January 6, 2024

Kaynetra Tucker is a teacher at Vicksburg High School, where she has taught history for the past four years.

When asked to describe a lesson that engages her students in learning, Tucker said that would be her project-based learning activity.

It is a very hands-on interactive experience. During this activity, she incorporates various strategies to accommodate different learning styles.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am

This learning experience had a significant influence on the students. They were actively engaged and motivated to learn because they had ownership of their project.

Tucker explained that she believes in creating a student-centered learning environment where students are actively involved in their learning process.

To make sure her students are connected to the world around them, she includes current event discussions, project-based learning and technology integration.

Technology integration gives students access to real-world information, including participating in virtual field trips.

Tucker says that by using these strategies she creates a classroom that promotes real-world learning.

When asked how she improves student achievement in the classroom, her response was five-fold:

  • She differentiates instruction to reach all of her students;
  • She uses formative assessments to see where her students are academically;
  • She incorporates collaborative learning, because some students feel more secure learning with their peers;
  • She uses scaffolded support to help her students break down projects into smaller more achievable parts;
  • Finally, she employs student reflection and goal setting from the Leader in Me.

Tucker explained her most moving educational experience was when she saw a student who didn’t want to work collaboratively in the classroom blossom academically and socially after she was put into a group for a class project.

Her peers nurtured her, helped her and were there to help aid her in reaching for her dreams. She grew academically and her self confidence soared, Tucker said.

Tucker added, “Education is not just about imparting knowledge, but also about empowering and uplifting the lives of students.”

In closing, when asked why she teaches, Tucker said she does it to create a learning environment where every student feels valued and inspired to reach their full potential.