Indiana Daily Student

MCCSC teacher receives statewide award

Wendy Tamborrino has been teaching fifth grade at Binford Elementary since 1996 and was recently awarded the Armstrong Teacher Educator Award from the IU School of Education.

Awarded to nine teachers in the state, Tamborrino was the second Monroe County Community School Corporation teacher in a row to receive this award.

“I think that that speaks volumes for the quality of teachers in MCCSC,” Tamborrino said.

She said she is both humbled and honored to receive the award and said it is nice her and other teachers’ work is being recognized. Tamborrino said she admires the work ethic and expertise at Binford.

“There are so many teachers in Binford and in the school district who could be in the same position as I am,” she said. “It just happened to be my lucky day, I guess.”

Besides her students, Tamborrino has a 5-year-old son, Nicholas, a 7-year-old daughter, Gabriella, and a 10-year-old son, Anthony, who is in her class at Binford.

Tamborrino said it has been a really powerful experience being able to teach her son. She has been able to see his work habits, his strengths and weaknesses.

“I think it’s given me a lot of information so that when he moves onto middle school and I don’t have so much interaction with him, I know his work habits,” she said. “I know what he needs. I can kind of predict ahead of time where there might be a problem, and we can work through it and give him the support that he needs.”

Tamborrino’s son calls her “Mom” in class, but she said none of the other children seem to mind. She said her classroom has a family feel.

“They’re my kids,” she said. “Anthony’s biologically mine, but these kids are my kids.”

Tamborrino said she enjoys teaching fifth grade because the kids are old enough to express their opinions and know right and wrong, but they’re still young enough to need some guidance and support.

She said their thinking is more worldly than in younger grades, and the students realize they can make a difference in the world.

This year, the class has talked about being an “upstander” instead of a bystander, and the kids have been good about stepping forward and reporting bullying, she said.

Tamborrino said she was inspired to be a teacher because of her mother, who was a music teacher. She loved watching her mother make lesson plans, find fun music and teach kids in creative ways.

“I appreciated the way that she moved outside the box, and that said to me that I want to do something like that — and watching my friends enjoy music from my mom’s teaching, I said I want kids to feel the same way, too,” she said.

Tamborrino said she has also been inspired by her colleagues at Binford, especially her fellow fifth-grade teachers. She said the group productively pushes one another to do better each day.

“We’re constantly sharing information, talking about kids, what works, what instructional strategies are most effective,” she said. “We’ve really had a sense that the kids who we teach here at Binford are all of our kids, and it’s all of our responsibility. We’re all doing this together, it’s a collaborative culture, and I think that’s what pushes us as professionals to become even better is that collaboration.”

Teachers are more than just teachers, she said. They are also caregivers, nurses and coaches.

“It’s definitely a job where you have many hats to wear,” she said.

The Armstrong Teacher Educator Award recognizes educator excellence and also provides funding to teachers so they can work on their own professional development projects.

Tamborrino said she is looking forward to the opportunity to work with other Armstrong teachers, pre-service teachers and to collaborate with IU.

“I just really look forward to the year ahead and trying some new, innovative things,” she said.

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