TEACHER OF THE MONTH
Dinah Gaddie is passionate about what she does. Being a teacher provides her an opportunity to witness the joy her students have when they have been researching a concept and experience a breakthrough. Those are the moments Gaddie finds most rewarding. “They make a connection that leads to understanding.I love that moment,” she says.
Gaddie has been at teacher for 10 years; most of her career was spent at Washington Elementary before she moved to Sandpoint Middle School two years ago.
She teaches seventh and eighth grade electives that are multi-content classes, primarily experiential-based focusing on STEM+C concepts: science, technology, engineering, math and computing. “This year classes include future city, manufacturing and design, and coding and 3D printing,” says Gaddie.
When asked what experience stands out most in her mind during her career, Gaddie says it’s very difficult to pick out just one. She did share that she had a very unique experience in that she taught a certain group of students in both fifth and sixth grade. “The following year I transferred to Sandpoint Middle School and taught many of the same students in seventh and now eighth grade,” Gaddie says. “I have literally watched so many [students] grow up and make connections beyond the walls of our school buildings.”
Some of the moments that stand out most in her mind are the unexpected explosions during science labs and chilly morning polar plunges at Camp Lutherhaven.
“One of my favorite memories is from an end-of-year celebration—Field Day at Washington Elementary. Teachers were asked to ‘volunteer’ to sit in the dunk tank. Students lined up and paid their dollar for a chance to dunk a teacher,” recalls Gaddie, who remained dry for quite some time until a fourth grade student hit the target. “The next thing I knew I was coming for air, sputtering and laughing, shocked and humbled. The students were cheering. I got up on the platform, regained my composure and quietly reminded this young man that he would likely be my student next year, and I’d be signing his report card.” His response? He took his next baseball and hit the target dead center. It is something Gaddie continues to remind him of to this day.
“Never limit yourself by your current circumstances. When I consider where I am now, all that I have experienced and shared, I feel so blessed. I went to college later in life. As a mother of three, I was a regular classroom volunteer and witnessed firsthand what an amazing opportunity this profession is to make a difference in the world,” says Gaddie, who is constantly refining her practices and procedures to offer unique learning opportunities for her students.