Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2009

Faculty Award winner

Karen Verkler

 College of Education

 Teaching & Learning Principles

Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)


I have been an educator in several different disciplines. However, it is my opinion that content area instruction is of secondary importance. Of utmost importance is the establishment of a caring, positive learning environment in which the student is encouraged to believe in himself/herself and to demonstrate self-respecrespect and respect for others. In addition, I adamantly espouse the view that learning can and should be fun.

To this end, I strive to create a positive, stress-free learning environment. One of my first activities each semester is an icebreaker that allows students and teacher to become familiar with everyone‘s name, background, and personality. I encourage them to celebrate the unique individuals they are. I am a firm believer in being oneself and believing in oneself. An individual attempting to emulate someone possessing a teaching style and/or personality different from one‘s own will not feel a “fit.”

I show my students that teachers can expect high quality work and have fun at the same time. My expectations are high and I have been knighted “The Grammar Queen of the College of Education” by students. However, my high standards certainly do not preclude the presence of a sense of humor. I have a jovial, playful nature and laughter comes easily to me. I exude enthusiasm and a love for my profession, and encourage my students to celebrate life and have fun. Although they realize that the course content is of a very serious and important nature, they emulate my sense of humor. The resultant classroom environment is one of support, friendship, and concern for one another, the foundation upon which I base all of my teaching.