TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Marigaye Guidry-Cooper teaching a dose of reality every day

Published 4:21 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Marigaye Guidry-Cooper is a teacher at the Academy of Innovation (AOI). She has been teaching for 6 years.

Guidry-Cooper 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. 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.

Guidry-Cooper teaches Cyber Foundations I Unit of Financial Literacy and says it has been her favorite subject to teach by far.

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“It is a big dose of reality, ” explains Guidry-Cooper.

The students learn about Red Pod Bucks, which is their pod’s currency. They earn Red Pod Bucks when they turn in work on time, turn in quality work, and practice The 8 Habits. They deposit their bucks into the Pod Bank, where they can earn interest.

“It is fun to see the students working hard and getting excited about earning and spending their money, ” she said.

Guidry-Cooper says she loves seeing her students feel empowered by what they learn in her class and can give financial advice to their peers.

When asked how she ensures her students are connected with the world around them  Guidry-Cooper said, “Being a Career and Technical Education instructor, my entire curriculum is based around real-world applications. From formatting and designing documents and spreadsheets to career research and financial literacy, all of my competencies are based around things  my students will encounter in the real world.”

She is also an advisor for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). In FBLA, students reach out to the community with service projects throughout the year. One project was adopting nursing home residents for the holiday season.

She acknowledges that students achieve academically when they know their teacher loves them and when they are having fun.

“I spend my days building a strong family relationship with my students. I do everything I can to show them that I care,” Guidry-Cooper says.

The biggest incentive that drives student achievement is their pod-wide student of the month celebrations, complete with music and drumrolls.

“Our students work so hard on their academics and attitudes all month long in hopes of being chosen as student of the month.”

When asked to share her most moving educational experience, she simply said, “It is when a past student takes the time to thank you. That, to me, is the most moving. This shows that you truly impacted them and played a role in their success.”