Meet the Teacher: Amanda Solloway, Dowagiac Middle School

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Educators are perhaps the greatest population of unsung heroes in Berrien and Cass County. This school year, Leader Publications will publish a weekly spotlight featuring teachers throughout the district, giving the community a chance to get to know the hard-working individuals shaping their children’s lives. Throughout the next school year, their answers will be published in the newspaper that serves each school district.

Name: Amanda Solloway

School: Dowagiac Middle School

Grades/subjects taught: Sixth and seventh grade science

Where did you attend college? University of Illinois Chicago.

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? [I have been] teaching for eight years. [I have been at] DMS for seven.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I have had several teachers that made an impact on me when I was growing up. Teachers were supportive and helpful in many ways, and I wanted to make sure I was providing the same type of emotional support and making an impact to students of the future generations.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? I love being with my family and friends, I like to travel and experience the cuisine wherever we go and reading. I always tell my students that I wish I was given 20 minutes a day and told I have to read.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? I always tell students all about me at the beginning of the year. I think it is super important for us to get to know each other in order to have success in learning and growing as young adults.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? Playing sports (volleyball, cheerleading and softball) and socializing with friends. We would always make up dances to songs and have huge sleepovers every weekend.

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality? They would probably say my teaching style is very hands on. Students generally work cooperatively on several projects throughout the year.

How has education changed in the last 10 years? Instead of saying how it has changed, I want to discuss how I would like it to change. I am more than iust a teacher. I don’t just teach the science standards. I teach science while working together, respecting differences of opinion, researching and analyzing information to come to their own conclusion, problem solving, reconfiguring mistakes to become successes.

This job isn’t just teaching a specific content. We are much, much more than that, and I challenge those who think it isn’t a big deal or that this is easy to please come to my classroom for a week and see what really happens. Please show me how you can do it better.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? Be active in their learning. Reach out to teachers. Ask your child questions and don’t accept small nonsense answers.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is … There are so many things! To keep trying and don’t give up. If something isn’t working or you aren’t happy, change it to make it work and become better. Think about things from a different perspective. Be more open minded. Respect a difference of opinion even if you don’t agree with it. Smile more. It is ok to be different or do something different as long as you have a good heart and good intentions.