Fairmont Private Schools’ teacher Vanessa Patterson has been named a “Top Teacher” in Orange County by ParentingOC Magazine! Patterson was nominated by her fellow Fairmont Historic Anaheim teachers who recognized her exceptional skill and generosity.
“Miss Patterson won because she is willing to give to her students and her fellow teachers,” Campus Director Matt Calabria shared. “Her time is your time, which means that if you ever need anything, she is always willing to help out.”
Upon receiving the news of her win, the campus came together last month to surprise her with the announcement during their weekly flag salute.
“Miss Patterson is a very private and modest person,” Calabria said. “I [knew] that if I told her in person, she wouldn’t share it with others. I wanted her to be celebrated because more often than not, she is celebrating someone else.”
Calabria waited until the weekly program was about to come to an end to share Patterson’s big win. Students and parents applauded as Patterson made her way to the front to be honored, but the loudest cheers came from her 6th grade students. Full video of the surprise announcement can be watched on Fairmont Historic Anaheim’s Facebook.
“It was a complete and wonderful shock,” Patterson said.
Patterson has been teaching 6th grade at Fairmont since 2011. She began working at Fairmont two years before as a temp in the Education Department where she taught teachers how to incorporate technology in their classrooms and lessons. From there she was asked to demo for teaching positions at all three Fairmont P-8 campuses before finding her home teaching 6th grade at Fairmont Historic Anaheim.
“Sixth grade is an interesting age because it’s still in the elementary environment, but students are at the brink of “teenagedom” and becoming junior highers,” Patterson said. “It’s a privilege to watch and observe sixth graders grow into themselves and become young adults ready for the next phase of life.”
Patterson describes her teaching style as one “with a sense of humor and [being] unashamed to make a fool of myself in front of the kids.” She utilizes accents, singing, and funny stories (sometimes her own embarrassing ones from her time as a 6th grader) to maintain a positive environment. As she says, “There is no room for negativity in room 29!”
Students in Patterson’s class are taught to cheer for one another and to take risks such as changing up their writing style or braving an oral presentation in front of their classmates.
“I believe children learn best with relaxed structure, which sounds a bit like an oxymoron,” Patterson shares. “I believe that at 11 and 12 years old, students need to have the freedom to experience autonomy and make choices within the safety and structure of the classroom.”
The positive and encouraging environment Patterson fosters in her classroom is a large part of why she was nominated.
“Miss Patterson makes coming to class each day a joy for her students,” Calabria shared. “Students give her so much effort and love because they are mirroring what she is giving to them.”
Congratulations again to Vanessa Patterson! She and the other “Top 25 Teachers” will be honored at the Top Teachers of Orange County 2018 Awards Reception on February 7.