Troy Teacher of the Year feels 'honored and blessed'
TROY - Not everyone honored at Troy High School's recent Scholastic Awards Ceremony was a student.
Jennifer L. Sporer, U.S. Civics & Government/Economics Teacher at the high school, was awarded the Teacher of the Year award.
"I have to say the award is the highlight of my career in education," she said, when asked for comment. "I feel honored and blessed; as I said after receiving the award, this is not a job for me - I enjoy being a teacher to the fullest extent - I have the honor and privilege of working with amazing students every day."
According to a description, the "Teacher of the Year" honor is awarded by the student council and voted on by the entire student body and is in recognition of the teacher's abilities.
Sporer said her favorite part of teaching is "watching students find their voice, meaning they've made the conscious decision to put themselves out there, risking acceptance and judgment, in favor of speaking their mind - no matter what the cost."
Her students describe her classroom environment as "fun, energetic, discussion-driven, content-based, current and relevant, and cognizant of the mantra 'every day is a great day,'" Sporer noted.
"Students engage in discussion surrounding current events every single day - we begin class with the BBC One Minute World News and Business Headlines," she said. "We delve into content and sprinkle in some life lessons, as well as debate topics of interest."
Sue Shipman, principal of Troy Area Junior-Senior High School, said Sporer is dedicated to the students.
"Students know she genuinely cares about them," she explained. "Students are actively engaged in learning and thinking when they are in her courses. She challenges students to truly think and apply what they have learned; it is not simply regurgitating content with no real understanding."
She said Sporer finds opportunities for students "to see real government in action."
One of Sporer's students, eleventh-grader Brooke Losey-Root of Troy, said Sporer "is just an amazing person all around, inside and outside the school."
She said Sporer helps the students a lot with school work and also with problems they may have. In addition, she admired Sporer's involvement in the community.
Sporer has been involved with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life as a Luminary Committee Chair for two years in Tioga County, Pa. In addition, she is involved with the "Goodies for the Troops" organization in Wellsboro.
Providing some information about her background, Sporer said she hails from Ontario, N.Y., where she graduated from Wayne Central High School. Then, she attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and received her B.S. degree in Education with certifications in Elementary/Early Childhood Education. She also lettered in tennis, soccer and track and field.
Sporer said she taught for one year at Johnstown City School District and coached soccer and track. Then, she went to Shamokin Area School District for three years and taught Computer Tech and Gifted Education for 1,100 students in grades K-6 and was the Girls Head Soccer Coach and an Assistant Track Coach. Following this work, she took the Gifted Education K-12 position for the Greenville Area School District, where she also taught SAT Prep for all sophomores, and was the Girls Head Track coach, Junior High Volleyball Coach, and Relay for Life coordinator for student teams for seven years.
"It was during my time at Greenville that I also graduated from Gannon University with an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, as well as certifications in Business, Computer, Information Technology K-12, and History 7-12," she noted.
"After 10 years of teaching in western Pennsylvania, I came to Troy in 2007 as the Technology Coordinator," she continued. "After two years in that position, I realized that my true calling is working with students, so I was very fortunate that the U.S. Government & Economics position opened at the high school and I was able to transfer. Government and the economy are two of my passions that I've followed since I was a student myself. I've been back in the classroom now for five fabulous years."
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: email@example.com.