It was always her dream…even when it wasn’t

EL teacher Amy Peddie chosen as 2016 Teacher of the Year


Madeline Steward

Amy Peddie speaks with sophomore Kyaw Min Naing during her EL 3 class.

Logan Flake, Reporter

EL teacher Amy Peddie was once in shoes similar to those of current SHS students, struggling to pinpoint exactly what it was that she wanted to do with her future.

Teaching was in Peddie’s family. Her grandmother taught music and tutored non-native English speakers on the side, and her mother was a preschool teacher. Peddie even got some hands-on experience at her mom’s job.

Regardless of this, Peddie was uncertain whether teaching was truly something she wanted to do. She carried this mindset with her throughout college.

Eventually, the teacher inside of her won out. Now, this decision has been recognized. Peddie has been selected as the 2016 Teacher of the Year.

“I feel like I’ve been a lifelong teacher, but I kind of denied it for a while,” Peddie said.

Peddie says that one of the most important aspects of her job is that she gets to do something she’d always wanted to do.

“One of the things that I knew all throughout my life is that whatever I decided to do with it, I wanted to be able to help people,” Peddie said.  “And the students that come from other countries need a lot of extra help as far as understanding how American culture works.”

This year alone, a Lilly Scholarship (which grants a full-ride scholarship to any in-state college of university) and two Gates Millennium scholarships (which grant full-ride scholarships to any college or university in the U.S.) were given to EL students whom Peddie has helped in the past.

Principal Barbara Brouwer believes this is a testament to how much Peddie works with her students in an effort to lead them to success.

“She has championed our EL students,” Brouwer said. “You can’t walk by her classroom-it doesn’t matter if it’s before school, after school, during school- (without it being) full of students, and they’re all working. It’s reflected in the number of scholarships that are being won by students who she’s helped.”

The time and effort that Peddie puts into working with EL students also shines through her work outside of class. It’s during these times that she helps her students with any college preparation needs.

Senior Nu Hing had Peddie in the past when she was a student in Peddie’s ESL level 3 class, but she still goes to Peddie during iPass for help regarding college prep.

In fact, EL students come to Peddie’s iPass en masse for this college help. This has regularly turned the period into a sort of makeshift crash course in steering the way for the educational futures of participating students.

Hing says that she is thankful for the extra effort that Peddie puts into guiding her students towards brighter futures.

“I can’t imagine how she stays until 4 every day and helps her students, and I really appreciate her for that,” Hing said. “I hope every student can see her good intentions.”

Not only has Peddie’s work been reflected through students she’s taught in the past, but it’s also shown through students she teaches now.

Junior Cin Langh says that Peddie’s efforts have helped him build a foundation of knowledge for the English language that wasn’t present beforehand.

“When I got here, I (didn’t) know anything about how to speak English, so she helped me a lot,” Langh said.  

Brouwer says that the Teacher of the Year should be student-centered, hardworking and willing to push students from good to great.

Brouwer says Peddie fits these requirements well, especially considering what her students have gone on to do.

“The money that (Mrs. Peddie’s) kids are earning is just off the charts, and their opportunities to further their education is just unparalleled, so she’s very worthy,” Brouwer said.

The significance of the recognition hasn’t been lost on Peddie. She says that when she found out she was more than happy that her hard work had translated to results.

“(I was) a little overwhelmed because I know Southport has amazing teachers…,” Peddie said. “There were lots of great candidates this year for Teacher of the Year, so I really felt honored.”