Delaware’s 2021 State Teacher of the Year wants to share her message about schools’ need to give students equitable access and opportunities.
Kimberly Stock is an English learner teacher at McKean High School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, and she wants to support students facing difficult challenges.
It mirrors her own life experiences as she was abandoned as a child in South Korea. Stock doesn’t know her age, birth place, or given name.
Stock says there’s not enough English learner teachers – and that forces some not qualified to teach those classes to do so. And that’s something she wants to change.
“We really believe that it could start much earlier as a certification process that it’s going to in the end really benefit all our students as well as our families.” said Stock. “We really need to make big efforts to get more teachers certified and to learn those methods for English learners.”
Stock also works with her students on understanding racial inequities are a human issue not a political issue – despite some politicians making it political .
She says he works to have an open dialogue with her students, and looks to the students to help because they are the future.
Like every teacher in the state, Stock is facing the difficulties of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s especially hard for Stock as an English learner teacher.
She says virtual learning can be problematic because it requires a lot of communication and understanding for English learners still building skills.
And not all of the students have the same level of internet service, or live in homes that don’t allow much privacy while learning.
Stock says she has found some help communicating with students and parents through an app called Talking Points.
“What that allows you to do is for me to send a message or text messages in English and then it arrives in their phone in the language of their choice so their native language and parents are able to communicate with me in their home language as well,” Stock said.
She adds having discussions in virtual learning format is not easy, but is using platforms where students upload videos to get their points across.
But developing strong relationships with her students remains a challenge – one all teachers and students are coping with this year.