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Teacher of the Year Spotlight: Rose Lambert
You are invited to a reception and ceremony recognizing our 2018-2019 Site Teachers of the Year at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 13 at the Union Performing Arts Center. Union will also announce its District Teacher of the Year. Being named Teacher of the Year is one of the highest honors a teacher can receive at Union.
Originally posted February 11, 2019
Media specialist Rose Lambert was named the 9th Grade Teacher of the Year for 2018-2019.
“I started this teaching position in 2001,” Lambert said. “I chose Union because I had become acquainted with then Superintendent Dr. Cathy Burden through Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce activities. (I was the Broken Arrow Branch Library Manager for five years right before I came to Union) and was in awe of her leadership. It also helped that my own kids were students here – the first five years I was in this position, my two sons spent some or all of their time in classes here in this building. I enjoyed seeing their school environment and knew lots of the students as classmates of theirs. Now, I have stayed for 13 more years because I love my job and I have the best library space in the state of Oklahoma.”
When Lambert was in college, she was completing a degree in psychology and did not want to pursue advanced degrees in that area.
“I had been successful in tutoring classmates and thought education was a good fit, so as soon as I finished my psych degree, I started my education degree and finished that a year and a half later,” she said. “But after graduation there was a tight teaching job market here in Tulsa, so I took a job with the Tulsa City-County Library System and loved working there. I found that I could still be an educator – I consistently helped people of all ages find the information they needed to do what they wanted to do – whether it was a school assignment they were working on or finding a book they wanted to read or learning a craft or how to fix their cars – they all wanted to learn and I was there to help and that’s the best part of teaching. And now I do the same things here – just with a specific age group and curriculum. I want kids to be successful – that’s my gauge of my success.”
Lambert loves to research everything and she loves teaching kids how to do research.
“Our students need to learn how to sift through the massive amount of information that is available to them and make good choices about where to find their information,” Lambert said. “It is a primary college-ready skill all our students need – so I teach all of them at some point during the year – and some more than once or twice. I love that when Pre-AP biology kids come to do research I can learn about Endangered Animals or Genetic Disorders with them and then when I am getting a little tired of those subjects, social studies classes come and I learn more about the Trail of Tears or Supreme Court cases. My heart has always been drawn to helping kids learn how to research anything and kids seem so intimidated by ‘research projects.’ So, I break it down into three basic steps and teach them to do those steps over and over until they have all the sources required and all the information needed.
“But this year my focus has been on helping our students be successful with their technology. I am providing them with the specifics they need in order to accomplish all the tasks they should with their laptops. If a student’s laptop is not working properly or if they cannot log in successfully or submit assignments, etc., they are sent to the library. It has been so rewarding to help students in this way. They are so comfortable with their phones and really know how to do a lot more with that technology than I do, but they don’t know laptops and that’s where I can teach them all.”
Because this is Union’s first year of the 1:1 initiative, Lambert could see challenges for students to “know” how to do all the stuff we need them to do on their computers.
“And since they are using those computers scattered all over the building rather than in a computer lab in here or coming in at lunch to use a computer, I wanted to give them the tools we want them to have all in one place. So, over the summer I created a Canvas course that now serves as every student’s “00 hour.” Everything we want all students to know how to do online is included there with screen shots and arrows and written instructions combined. I covered everything from how to log in to Campus Portal to check grades to how to submit assignments in Canvas to how to email your teachers and so much more. Teachers have access to the course also and can use it to demonstrate for students a consistent way of doing a lot of things. And then, as we discover a pocket of information we wish they all had – like how to Shut Down properly or how to give their parents access to their Canvas account, I can go in an create another module and it is instantly available to every student. We are working now on adding modules regarding good digital citizenship so that we can help them grow into the best technology users we can.”
Lambert sees diversity as a challenge she is trying to address.
“I know that our students come to our lessons with such diverse backgrounds and experiences and how they approach learning is equally diverse,” Lambert said. “Students must have something in their past experiences for them to connect to the new information we are providing. So having lessons that all types of learners can understand is not simple. Providing instruction by speaking to classes has never been adequate, but it is even less so today. So, I have provided all of what I teach in written form via Canvas with screenshots and arrows, etc. Then, during class time we can open those instructions AND I can demonstrate for students the steps AND I can provide explanations for what we are doing. But there is never enough time to make sure each student has grasped the concepts or even gotten to ask all their questions. I have never turned away from a child who has a question, so I even encourage them to email me after hours. The sheer volume of the questions and needs is sometimes exhausting. The Canvas-based instructions which can then be opened after school allow me the privilege of teaching students when they aren’t in the same room with me and even when they move on to the High School. I tell them Ms. Lambert is always available to help students do great research projects.”
As it has for the last 18 years, what is expected of our students will change constantly, she said.
“The jobs they will need to do five or 10 years from now may not even exist yet and we have to provide them with the skills they need in order to be capable and adaptable,” Lambert said. “So, they need to learn to find information for themselves and use it efficiently and effectively. As a librarian who began her career before computers were in use for the public, I have adapted a lot myself over the years. I hope I can teach kids to question and then to find answers for themselves and flex and adapt to meet their eventual job needs. I look forward to each new day and the experiences it will bring. Because my schedule of classes changes daily and what students and teachers need of me can be completely different each day and unexpected all day long, there is never a dull moment. Giving kids the skills they need in order to be successful will never get old.”
- Bachelor's Degree in Psychology
- Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education with Social Studies from Oklahoma Baptist University
- Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas