During her career as a teacher Andrea LaMotte, who was recently named Caesar Rodney School District's Teacher of the Year, has worked with a wide variety of students. While still enrolled at Asbury College in Kentucky, LaMotte spent six months teaching in India and Napal, where she taught English to Tibetan monks. While there she also taught at a school that offered education free of charge to local children who likely would have gone uneducated and been sent to work at a young age had they not been offered the chance to attend school.
After graduating from Wilmington University with a master's degree in education, LaMotte spent a year working for Eagles Nest Christian Academy in Milton.
For the past seven years, LaMotte has taught sixth through eighth graders with special needs at the John S. Charlton School in Camden. She currently teaches English language arts, math, science and social studies to special needs students in a Charlton classroom at Postlethwait Middle School. LaMotte beat out 12 other CR teachers to win the title of Teacher of the Year, qualifying her for the state Teacher of the Year award to be announced later this year.
Q: How did it feel to be nominated for CR's Teacher of the Year?
A: It's a huge honor. You don't teach to get recognition you teach to make a difference in kid's lives. You never do it for any of those things. I do it to be able to watch my kids make progress and learn new skills, but it's just an honor to be recognized for that and to be noted that you are one of the best teachers.
Q: Is this the first time you've been nominated for Teacher of the Year?
A: I've been nominated for teacher of the year in my building before but this is the first time I've been selected for building and then district Teacher of the Year, too.
Q: So now you are in the running for state Teacher of the Year?
A: Yes, things start in August and September and they decided at the end of October. It's a lot of the same things I did for Caesar Rodney. I had to make a portfolio so now I just have to refine it. I have to take my speech and refine it.
Q: Is there something that you do that you think helped you earn this recognition?
A: One of the things is just being able to teach and being able to run the classroom effectively, being able to motivate students to learn and to make great leaps in life skills, social skills academic skills. In the job I have we don't just teach math and reading we teach a lot of other things. I also helped write the extended standards, which is the curriculum for students who have some cognitive delays. I also work with Capernaum, which is an organization outside of school. We give respite nights to parents who have special needs children. Parents get to go out for like three hours and we take care of their kids.
Page 2 of 2 - Q: Is there something specific that made you want to work with children with special needs?
A: When I went to school my primary certificate was in elementary education and then I became dual certified in education. I had some opportunities to work with some children who had cognitive delays but I didn't go to school specifically to teach those students. I interviewed at Charlton School and was hired and I thought, 'well I'll start here and see how it goes,' and I just fell in love with it that year. I loved working with those kids. I loved helping kids with cognitive delays to achieve anything they were able to do.