Since 2003, Amy Yaw enjoyed teaching at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School. Recently retired, she looks back on her time at SMMCS as a blessing and reflects on how she was able to incorporate faith and a passion for literature into her classroom.
Where did you grow up?
Batavia, NY, which is a small town situated between Buffalo and Rochester.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I babysat from an early age, and during the summers of my high school and college years, I was a teacher’s assistant in a remedial math and reading program for elementary students. I’ve always cherished being a mom to my two children, who are now adults.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a teacher.
I’ve always been called to teaching children; it’s just natural for me! I fell in love with middle schoolers when I was a student teaching in college, and focused my career on that age group. I taught 7th-grade English for 16 years at a middle school in the Southern Tier of New York, where my husband and I moved after college. We then transferred to Central Florida. After taking a few years off to get acclimated with my family, I was blessed in 2003 to start teaching 6th-grade ELA and SS at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in beautiful Winter Park, from which I recently retired last December.
How did you engage your students in the learning experience?
I have always loved the fact that SMMCS teaches the whole child and focuses on nurturing our Catholic faith, in addition to having high academic standards. I made every effort to engage my students in cross-curricular activities with an emphasis on writing. I loved making connections among literature, writing, and topics in social studies. Learning makes so much more sense that way! Facilitating meaningful independent projects using everything from technology to arts and crafts always supplemented my lessons. I endeavored to teach kindness and compassion, and always maintained that The Golden Rule was the only rule my classroom needed. I have always believed that if you focus on the positive, everything else will fall into place.
What did you enjoy about teaching at St. Margaret Mary?
I’ve always viewed teaching at SMMCS as a partnership with my administration and parents. As a community, we all want our students to become faith-filled, independent, successful, lifelong learners. Every single class I have taught is different, yet so special in its own way.
What was the most rewarding thing about your career?
The most rewarding part of my career was forming relationships with my students and their families. Although I’ve recently retired, I’m blessed to see my former students and families at Mass and around town. I plan to sub and volunteer, too! SMMCS is a very special community and it is a privilege being part of it. Truly!
Get to Know Amy Yaw
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: Attend Broadway shows with my husband, take long walks and bike rides, read, and play with my one-year-old grandson!
Q: Do you have a favorite movie or TV show?
A: My favorite all-time movie is The Sound of Music. I love any television shows depicting historical periods such as Downton Abbey, The Crown, and Victoria, and I love anything on HGTV!
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: So many! But I’ll say Wuthering Heights.
Q: Do you have a favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
A: Florence and Rome, Italy! I am also going on a pilgrimage to Portugal and Spain in June with some fellow parishioners from St. Margaret Mary which I am very excited about!
Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
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