TOW Clark

Mahomet-Seymour grad Lori Clark teaches biology at her alma mater.

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Meet Mahomet-Seymour grad LORI CLARK, who teaches high school biology and helps organize the Home Homework Hangout Club at her alma mater. She’s News-Gazette Media’s fourth Teacher of the Week for the 2019-20 school year.

I find my work important because ... I get the chance to build meaningful relationships with kids. I strive to personally connect and mentor each one of my students. Students know that I care for not only their academics, but I also care for their individual development into adulthood. In my classroom, I hope to model kindness, work ethic and respect for others. The science content is important, but more importantly I want my students to walk away from my class knowing that I care. We are a family.

I became a teacher because ... of my passion for kids and science. My fellow biology teachers and I incorporate many hands-on activities, labs and manipulatives into the curriculum to increase student engagement. If we increase student engagement, we increase knowledge retention and application.

One perk of my job is ... surrounding myself with other staff members that support each other every day. It takes a village to adequately prepare students for the real world and our K-12 district strives for this goal. The expectation is to provide each student the best education and as many opportunities as possible. I am fortunate to work next to teachers of this same mindset and be supported by the administration.

My most fulfilling moments on the job is when ... I receive notes and cards from former students informing me of their post-high school adventures. Students often mention that our school district prepared them for their college courses. The rigor of our classes sets them up for success in their studies after high school. I especially get excited when students choose a major in science.

Something else I’m passionate about is ... prairie restoration. With the help of Mike Davis, a master naturalist, our department has been able to bring native prairie plants back to our school prairie plot. Our team of biology teachers want students to encounter the biodiversity of a prairie and importance of a stable ecosystem. We use the plot for a prairie project in the fall and continue to connect back to the project throughout the school year.

As far as my own favorite teacher and subject when I was in school ... I graduated from Mahomet-Seymour High School and I was fortunate to have several amazing teachers, but I was able to narrow my list down to two impactful teachers. Mrs. Marcia Carlier was my junior high PE teacher and Mrs. Betty Tilford was my high school chemistry teacher. Mrs. Tilford effectively delivered her curriculum and gave me a solid foundation for my college science courses. Mrs. Carlier taught me the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices. She led her classes with energy and kindness.

If I weren’t a teacher, I would be ... a gardener or a florist on a tropical island.

Have someone you’d like to nominate? Contact Anthony Zilis at azilis@news-gazette.com.