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“For me, teaching was my destiny, because I had no other plans or wishes to do anything else,”—Stacey Joy
The Baldwin Hills Elementary teacher wins “Teacher of the Year Award.”
Stacey Joy, a 5th grade teacher at Baldwin Hills Elementary School, received the Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year Award in September.
For the past 31 years, Los Angeles County Office of Education has been recognizing teachers who go above and beyond what is required. This year, they have selected Joy along with 15 other teachers to receive the prestigious award and set the highest standard for over 75,000 public school teachers in Los Angeles County. The county competition, presented by LACOE, is the largest competition of its kind in the nation.
Teaching has always been Joy’s destiny. When the Nationally Board Certified teacher was six-years-old, she remembers asking her mom for a chalkboard and chalk so that she could play teacher with her dolls.
“For me, teaching was my destiny, because I had no other plans or wishes to do anything else,” said Joy.
Joy’s teaching methods allow her students to grow academically and socially. One of her methods includes having “middle school” days during the school year, in which her students learn from four different teachers in preparation for middle school.
Joy has also taught her students about fundraising and charity. One year, her classroom, along with five others, was vandalized. Fire extinguishers were blown through the classroom and computer screens were cracked and shattered. Joy turned this situation into a teaching lesson and produced the Jazzical Café Fundraiser in which students showcased their talents in a show for the community to raise funds for classroom materials. Her students have also participated in a book-publishing program that donates books and stories that the students have written to charities that help people with cancer.
Challenges arise when teaching young children and deciding the level of information that is appropriate. Joy’s school is predominantly African-American. While race is a sensitive subject, it is something that children have to learn about before they go out into a world where their peers don’t look like them. Joy tackles this sensitive subject by having her class read historical fiction novels by Mildred Taylor.
“They learn it all and I teach it all in a very careful and sensitive way,” says Joy, “and the kids are hung up over these books like people are hung up on Twilight.”
Along with teaching children, Joy teaches adults. She has been a UCLA faculty advisor and instructor for the LEAD Teacher Certification Program. Joy’s responsibilities include supervising the student teachers sent to her school and teaching a seminar course. While it’s very time consuming to teach at an elementary school and supervise a teaching program for college students, Joy manages to do both jobs effectively.
“People always asked me, ‘how do you do both?’” says Joy. “I don’t know how I did it, but I did it.”
Joy has dedicated her life to teaching. She pushes her students to be the best that they can be. She challenges them and does her best to make sure that her students gain the foundation to be successful at anything that they decide to do. Along with teaching her elementary students, she teaches the future teachers of America. Joy gives everything that she can to her students and is now recognized by the Los Angeles County Office of Education for doing so.
When speaking of her award, Joy says, “Now that I have this Teacher of the Year Award, I feel like [LACOE] is saying, ‘good job for everything that you’ve done.’’”