Meet the teacher: Denise Stockwell

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 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: Denise Stockwell

School: Dowagiac Middle School

Grade/subject taught: Eighth grade English language arts

Where did you attend college? Southwestern Michigan College (Associate of Arts), Western Michigan University (Bachelor of Arts & Master of Arts)

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? This is my 24th year teaching in Dowagiac. I spent 10 years at Central Middle School and currently teaching my 14th year at Dowagiac Middle School.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I enjoy working with youth and I have many family members that were (and currently are) teachers.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? I enjoy baking, spending time with my family, reading and camping.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? I play the oboe and taught myself to play the flute and piccolo when I was a middle schooler.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? There are too many to name. … I love characters who figure out who they are, what they stand for and know why they have the beliefs they do. Alyce from “The Midwife’s Apprentice” and Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games” series are two that come to mind.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? Band, 4-H and working on our family farm kept me busy as a teen.

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality? My teaching style is always evolving based on technology availability and student need. I also am determined and somewhat of a perfectionist.

Who is your biggest role model and why? My parents are my major role models. They were both very devoted, kind-hearted people that always supported my interests, as well as my brother’s.

How has education changed in the last 10 years? The advancement of technology and its use in the delivery in the classroom has been a major change in the past decade. Fifteen years ago, we had three computers available for general research. Today, we have almost 1:1 contact with computers in our classrooms.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? Get involved with your child’s activities and know their interests in and out of the classroom. Read with them, have fun talking with them about experiences and the learning that is going on at school. A parent’s encouraging word means the world to our kids.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is … That learning is life-long and they can be successful with anything they set their sights on.