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Hamilton School Teacher of the Year: Jamie Britton

The 4th grade teacher talks about forging bonds with students, never having enough time and witnessing the "aha!" moment.

Six educators in the Glen Rock Public Schools system can call themselves the creme de la creme, having been selected by colleagues as the top educators for 2011-2012 at their respective schools.

The list this year is quite diverse – you'll find resource room teachers, guidance counselors, science teachers, art teachers and classroom teachers.

The six recipients were kind enough to answer a few questions Patch had about their role in shaping kids' futures. We , a guidance counselor at GRHS, a little bit better on Monday. Now, check out what 4th grade teacher Jamie Britton has to say about education!

Why did you gravitate toward teaching? Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?

I have wanted to be a teacher from the moment I started school! I’ve always known this would be the career for me. Although there are no teachers in my family, my parents always honored and encouraged my desire to pursue teaching. Their support kept me focused on my goal. 

What's the best part about teaching?

There are so many “best parts” about teaching! The highlights for me, though, are meeting new students and families each September and then spending the year developing those relationships. I like to think I’ve formed many bonds that persist for years after the kids have moved beyond 4th grade. 

What are the greatest challenges you find in teaching? How do you solve them?

The greatest challenge in teaching is never having enough time! While I always feel confident that my students are ready for 5th grade, there is always so much more I wish I had time to accomplish. 

What's the most memorable thing that's happened in one of your classrooms?

The most memorable thing is witnessing that moment when a student “gets it.” “It” can be a social skill, math concept, reading skill or a display of patience or maturity. The “it” for each student is different, but I’m always grateful when I get to see that light bulb come on. 

Do you have a particular "style" of teaching?

My philosophy of teaching is to be flexible and student-centered.  Therefore, my style is always changing to meet the needs of my students that particular year. 

Tell me about a teacher you found inspirational while you were a student.

My third grade teacher solidified for me that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. When I look back upon my time with her, I don’t remember what we learned or how she taught. The thing I’ll always remember is that she made me feel special.  That has inspired me to do the same for my students. 

Do you have any advice for parents or students?

My advice to both parents and students is to keep open communication between home and school. We can accomplish so much more as a team than we can accomplish alone. 

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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