Congratulations to Hononegah teacher Jean Chambers! The Golden Apple Foundation presented Jean with her Apple Thursday morning during 2nd Hour. She will be honored at the Golden Apple Banquet on April 22 at Prairie Street Brewing Co.

Jean Chambers was pleasantly surprised last Thursday when she was presented with a 2022 Golden Apple Award while in her classroom.

Jean Chambers of Rockton’s whole teaching career of 24 years has been spent at Hononegah High School, where she teaches 9th grade honors freshman World Literature and 12th grade British Literature.

She is a past nominee, a 2019 Golden Apple finalist and a parent of four. As Class of 2022 Student Council Advisor, Chambers collaborated with the council members to plan guidelines, activities and decorations for the school prom in the spring of 2021, ever cognizant of the increased need to ensure the health and safety of attendees during the pandemic.

The students even rented a Ferris wheel for the event! Chambers, as all teachers, also had to adapt her teaching in the past two years because of COVID, through both remote and blended learning. Since she always tries to keep her material relevant, Chambers used the topic, “remote instruction” in the Freshman English class’s survival unit. She said, “Students formed connections between the survival-themed texts and their experiences, leading to meaningful class discussions and insightful points” which they included in essays.

After attending a workshop about Restorative Practices, Chambers established restorative circles and group conversations in her classroom so students could share experiences and learn about others’ views and experiences. As the new English Department Coordinator this year, Chambers is focused on improving vertical skills, collaboration and communication. “Getting peer support and sharing fresh ideas, something that has become crucial during remote and blended learning, strengthens my instruction and leads to implementing new strategies to improve student achievement.”

One of her students and council members, Abigail Myroth, submitted a letter of recommendation for Chambers, writing that “She has taught us how to become trustworthy, responsible leaders capable of accomplishing all that is expected of us and more, all while creating meaningful connections among students and advisors.”

She added her praise for how well-prepared Chambers always is “to teach the lessons both of life and of literature to those who walk into her classroom.”

A retired teacher observing Chambers’ classroom felt that she provided an “excellent balance of fun and hard work.” He added that through this teacher’s guidance, students were able to connect the Shakespearean language and concepts of “Romeo and Juliet” to their lives.

Another retired teacher observing said that Chambers helped “Her students move beyond the love story and look deeply into the characters and why they are doing what they do.”

The first observer also said, “the energy to create the learning atmosphere relied almost entirely on the teacher and she rose above and beyond with her knowledge and enthusiasm…This teacher had clearly developed background knowledge and vocabulary that engaged ninth graders!”

The longtime observer also wrote that Chambers demonstrated “teaching skills that brought a difficult subject to life, engaged students and provided cultural knowledge that will always be valuable to these students. This teacher displayed one of the best high school classes I’ve observed.”

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