Andrew Boehm, 4th Grade Teacher at Marysville School in SE Portland, Oregon
Nominated By April Snodgrass (Sister-In-Law)
Andrew goes above and beyond with all of his students. A few years ago, he posted a project for his classroom that was fulfilled in a matter of days. That project was to 'Add a little Wonder' to his classroom and asked for some funds to purchase a class set of the book "Wonder" by RJ Palacio. The book is a story of compassion, kindness, and resilience. It fits his school wide model of what it means to be a good person and to live life in a mindful, kind, compassionate way. Just a few short weeks ago, the film adaptation of the book was released in theaters. Because many of his students fall below the poverty line, they don't have as many opportunities to enjoy the small thrills in life - like going to the theater to see a movie! He setup another project to ask for help to take Marysville entire 4th/5th grade classes on a trek to see the film based on the book they all just finished. Last week that project was fulfilled and all of the fourth and fifth graders will get to enjoy going to see the movie after reading the book.
Andrew cares so much about all of his students, and is willing to do everything for them. He definitely deserves the educator of the week!!!
Congrats, Andrew, from all of us at K103! Get to know Andrew Boehm:
What inspired you to become an educator?
After spending the first two years of my post-collegiate life working in the healthcare field for a hospice company, I was feeling a bit burnt out and in need of a change. With a passion for helping people lingering, and with the motivation of my Aunts (both former teachers at Fernwood MS in Portland Public), I decided to try my hand at education. I traveled abroad and taught a year of English in Japan and immediately fell in love with the profession the second I set foot in front of my first class. There are few things in life sweeter than the ‘ah-ha!’ moments you get from a struggling students. I returned, immediately enrolled in an MAT program, and the rest is history.
What do you like most about teaching?
The relationships formed through teaching are not only the most crucial piece in getting a child to learn, but also the most rewarding. While names may be forgotten over the years, the faces and experiences shared are so valuable and cherished. Many of the students I teach come from very difficult backgrounds and life experiences. Getting the opportunity to put these students on a winning streak in life and providing them with a positive role model is the icing on the cake.
What has changed the most since you began your career in education?
Aside from the students themselves changing, I’d say the biggest change has been inside of me. Much of this can be attributed to the adoption of a mindfulness curriculum at our school – teaching and practicing mindfulness to students has been a game changer not only for their emotions and abilities as students, but for mine as well. I have learned patience, optimism, perspective-taking, and stress management techniques that have made my job even more enjoyable than my first days of teaching.
What would you like parents to know about your job?
Teaching is a gift. I make a point to thank my parents for allowing me to teach their children each and every day. Some days – and some school years – are obviously harder than others, but their kids and the resiliency of their children are what keep me coming back day after day trying to be the best teacher I can be.
Share a favorite story about your years in education.
I had a particularly difficult class three years ago. They came into the school year with a lot of ‘baggage’ and rumored negative reputation. Students were very unkind and argumentative with each other and adults in the building. This group also happened to be the same group of students I did my practicum student teaching with when they were in Kindergarten. I am especially proud of this specific group of students – currently in 7th grade - because by the end of their 4th grade year I can wholeheartedly say they had turned a corner; student’s looked out for each other rather than putting each other down. Students had kind words for each of their classmates – even those who may not have gotten along at all in previous years. Students were (mostly!) respectful to all adults in the building and guest teachers. It was all culminated by a final community service project that the students came up with on their own in which they created stuffed hearts with positive self-affirmation messages to be given to children at the Morrison Center. It reinforced to me the power of positivity and kindness, and just how incredible this job can be.