Focus on Faces
12/4/2006 9:38:02 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. Vicki Weaver, General Education Diploma Instructor of the Adult Basic Education Program at New Mexico Junior College, was recently named the New Mexico Adult Education Association GED Teacher of the Year.
According to Dianne Marquez, Director of Adult Basic Education at NMJC, Weaver received the award at the NMAEA's annual conference held November 3 in Albuquerque "for her enthusiastic attitude in the classroom and her continued commitment toward education."
Married to Kevin Weaver and mother of Justin, age 21 and current NMJC student, and Morgan, age 13, Weaver attended both NMJC and College of the Southwest, where she earned a Bachelor of Social Science in Elementary Education.
When she learned of the GED instructor's position six years ago at NMJC, Weaver was somewhat reluctant to apply since all her previous experience had been spent dealing with children. But because she had enjoyed her experience at NMJC so much as a former NMJC student, she decided to apply anyway. The rest, as they say, is history.
Although Weaver was excited about her new position teaching at the local detention facility, she put in hours and hours of research to better equip herself for the experience. "Teaching adults is so different than teaching children," Vicki said. "For whatever reason, these students didn't finish school, but when they do come in, they come to learn."
Marquez maintains that Weaver herself is much of the reason the students are motivated. In a nomination narrative, Marquez states:
Vicki Weaver's enthusiastic attitude is contagious in the classroom. Students not only improve their math and writing skills, they also discover that learning is fun. Vicki's love for teaching and her love for the students motivate her all day long. She takes a personal interest in every student she has, as well as those who just enter the building. When the ABE program had to cut back on the staff due to funding, Vicki continued to teach her classes, but also volunteered to tutor students between classes and during her lunch. . . . Vicki's continued commitment to education is evident in her quest for more knowledge. Vicki frequently seeks out opportunities to improve her teaching, such as attending the multiple intelligences training, and the NMAEA, Mountain Plains, and NAASLN conferences. Her passion for adults with learning differences has prompted her to become certified in PowerPath in order to better assist our students in the learning process. In the six years that Vicki has worked at New Mexico Junior College, she has developed a GED curriculum, improved the student orientation, and consistently has a classroom level gain performance above fifty-three percent. Vicki is always willing to help the program succeed by organizing student orientations, handing out flyers at the Christmas Parade, and talking with local agencies about GED issues. One student remarked, "Mrs. Weaver really helped me learn fractions and like them too. . . . "
Vicki currently serves on the Learning Differences Task Force for the state of New Mexico and the Adult Basic Education Advisory Board. She has also served on the Teacher's Council for the state of New Mexico.
The old Chinese proverb, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime," parallels Weaver's philosophy on teaching. She explains, "I've come to realize that students just need someone to show them how to learn. Teaching adults has been most rewarding; when that light bulb comes on, there's no stopping them because you've empowered them with the confidence to move forward."
And for Vicki Weaver, the New Mexico Adult Education Association's 2006 GED Teacher of the Year, that's all that really matters.