Margaret Thomas Creates Active Classroom
Bok North Teacher of the Year
Last updated 3/5/2019 at 2:44pm
Bok Academy North teacher Margaret Thomas has a daily tradition with her sixth grade students.
Every day, she likes to greet them with a question, something that simultaneously can entertain and educate her youngsters at the same time.
It's part of the reason she has been named as the school's first-ever Teacher of the Year. Bok North opened its doors this past August.
"It is the highlight of my day," she said of her routine, which sets the tone for entering a classroom that is far from traditional.
"We have casual flexible seating throughout the room with yoga balls, disc chairs, cubes, bean bag chairs, and rolling office chairs.," Thomas observed. "The classroom is active, buzzing with conversation, talking about the latest technology trends, and music. Everyday we are creating something using our MacBooks, iPads, and cellphones. A fabulous day in the classroom ends with the statement 'It's time to go already?'"
A native of suburban Cleveland, and graduate of Bowling Green University with a bachelor's degree in middle childhood education and master's in curriculum and teaching, she has spent 15 years in the education field in the areas of social studies, science, reading, gifted and technology.
In addition to God, she credits her aunt, Sylvia Cooper, who served as an elementary school principal in Ohio, as one of her inspirations.
"She always encouraged me and provided me innovative ideas," she said.
Thomas moved to Florida in 2010, going to work for Polk County in schools in Lakeland, Winter Haven and Dundee, an experience which she says has made her a better teacher.
"I have to thank all my previous principals at each of the schools I have taught at," she added. "From encouraging me to coach basketball, create a robotics team, travel and attend various conferences, and create new curriculum, each teaching position at these schools have molded me into the teacher I am today."