Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2016

Faculty Award winner

Constance Goodman

 College of Education & Human Performance

 School of Teaching, Learning, & Leadership

Each semester I approach my classroom in the spirit of the late James Baldwin, "For these are all of our children. We either profit by or pay for whatever they become." Education is a life or death situation for many children in our public schools. The young boys to your right represent the real impact of teaching and learning. The quote reads "The only difference between us and some of our friends is that we really bought into the idea that education could save our lives." No doubt, a teacher made a difference.

My classroom practices are geared towards the same outcome and centered on lessons and activities that inform teacher candidates of the enormity of their responsibility. At the end of my courses, my teacher candidates clearly understand major aspects of social justice and their role in ensuring all students receive their educational birthright - access to a quality education - regardless of background or ability.

My teaching philosophy is deeply rooted in social justice and encompasses the conceptual framework that guided our college when I arrived in 2005. I am also drawn to Haberman's (2004) description of a Star teacher. This framework has so many nuggets but I was specifically drawn to the language used to describe the attributes of a Star teacher, those attributes that seem to mirror our own goals for teacher preparation. Three particular attributes stood out to me, so much so that I held back tears as I reread the description of each. The attributes of a Star teacher that I found particularly interesting are (1) Star teachers are nonjudgmental, (2) Star teachers respond as professionals and are not easily shocked, and (3) Teachers see themselves as teachers of children as well as teachers of content. See, I am a firm believer that if you truly understand your role as a teacher, then you can teach any kid from any background. It is my sincere desire to produce teachers like Alicia Gibbs - educators who are striving to reach this level of STARDOM.

Hello, Dr. Goodman, I hope you are doing well! I think about you often as I have begun my 3rd year teaching this year. I wanted to share some good news with you!!!! I recently got engaged to my wonderful boyfriend! We are getting married next November. Also, today I found out that I won teacher of the year at my school. I was extremely shocked and honored. You were on of the first people to pop into my mind. You gave me my start at UCF and taught me how to not only be a teacher, but a teacher who strives to make a difference. I owe much of my success to you because you were my ultimate teacher. :)

Alicia Gibbs