Stories abound about students accidentally calling a beloved teacher mom. Amanda Ramirez’s students call her mom on purpose. For many, she is the most important, most understanding person in their lives. She already has the herculean task of teaching students Japanese; indeed, she teaches 5 different courses in Japanese each day! Sensei, as she is called by her students, designs her classes to be like home to students. There are only 5 desks in the room and one round table with 4 chairs. The frequent visitors to her class find students sitting on bouncing balls or on a carpet, sitting right at Sensei’s feet. Others are on a couch reading or hunched over a coffee table, translating kanji (Japanese script). One student spends the majority of class pacing around the room while Sensei simultaneously whispers encouraging words to him, sits with a small group of students to work on oral language fluency, and redirects an off-task student.
Me: How did you know he was off task. I couldn’t tell.
Amanda: My teacher radar could just tell!
Amanda has recently taken on leadership roles. She is a leader in her state language association and is now being asked by the Indiana Department of Education to travel to schools to lead professional development about the new World Language state standards, which she helped write. I am amazed by her; she already gives so much. How can she make time? The answer is that she is passionate about teaching students and the power of language to grow their interests in the world and their confidence in themselves.
I am an instructional coach and have taken a dozen teachers into Amanda’s classes over the past year. She is simply amazing with her kids, and they love her. Just as importantly, Amanda guides her students toward meeting the high expectations she has for them. Amanda Ramirez is a rock star teacher.
"Amanda Ramirez is an educator who is willing to take risks, learn, and grow to do what is best for her students. After receiving training last summer, Amanda has totally transformed her classroom to support the Six Standards of Effective Pedagogy. She uses centers and flexible seating to engage students in language rich activities. She works well with students of all backgrounds both in and out of the classroom. They find that she is a safe person to go to with any issues they have. She dedicates her time out of the classroom to sponsoring four clubs. She also holds leadership positions in state level professional organizations and has served as a committee member to revise Indiana’s World Language standards." - Matt Shockley, Principal of Avon High School.