By Khalid Hassan ’19
The first annual Kara Healy and Nour Qudsi Teacher of the Year crown was taken by Ms. Kimberly Lau. 400 students voted for the teacher they believe deserves this prestigious award.
Mr. Lawrence Kolotkin, the Coordinator of Student Activities, constructed the voting system. He said, “Kids were able to write an essay on the teacher that impacted them the most.”
There were no special requirements for the students to vote. The students were given a piece of paper with the policy of the voting with fill in the blank of the teacher name they think made a huge impact on them this year and one question where the students were asked to provide one or more reasons the teacher deserves this prestigious award. After the questions were answered the students turned in their votes to Mr. Kolotkin to come up with the result. The votes were anonymous to protect students’ privacy and prevent any conflict.
Ms. Lau teaches Chemistry, Advanced Placement Environmental Science, and Ocean Science Research and she is the Boys Handball team coach. She also teaches at John Hopkins through Center for Talented Youth: Gifted and Talented Program. Ms. Lau has been teaching for five years.
Many students found her teaching effective. For instance, one of Ms. Lau’s former students, Dominic Ticz ’20 said, “First semester there I had trouble learning chemistry and I came into her class second semester clueless about the topics. However, thanks to her I understood the first and second-semester topics by the end of the year.”
Ms. Lau believes that the best way to teach “being prepared.”
She said, “In other words, organizing my lessons and looking at the lesson from a student’s perspective and planning my lessons helps the students understand the lesson better.”
Abu Butt ’19, one of Ms. Lau’s former students said, “Ms. Lau one of the most understanding and beneficial chemistry teachers. Even though she is strict and fast pace teacher, her work made it seem as though the regents were like nothing.”
Every teacher wants their students to understand the lesson, even though it doesn’t work out for some. However, based on Ms. Lau’s students’ feedback, her lesson plan works perfectly for her students.
“She taught everything you needed to know for the class and would make sure you participated in class so she would know if you understood the lesson that was taught in class,” said Butt.
Ms. Lau is known to the students for having the ability have her students understand her lessons and then her strictness. But making well-constructed lesson for her student is one of her goals.
In addition, Ms. Lau said, “One of my goals is to put positive perspective on students and show empathy towards their issue.”
The relationship between a teacher and a student can be very complex sometimes because of the differences in age, understanding, perspective, and responsibilities. But the votes said otherwise; it gives a good view on the how the majority of the students feels about Ms. Lau.
The majority of the votes emphasized Ms. Lau’s positive impact on the kids. Ms. Lau’s positivity and organized lessons made huge improvements in many kids and from many students’ perspectives.