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From Psych to Science: Sarah Worley ’01 Earns CT Teaching Honors

Sarah (Howard) Worley ’01, winner of Connecticut's Excellence In Elementary School Science Teaching Award
Sarah (Howard) Worley ’01, winner of Connecticut's Excellence In Elementary School Science Teaching Award

April was a big month for Sarah (Howard) Worley ’01. The Keene State psychology major who went on to earn a teaching certificate was honored by the Connecticut Science Teachers Association with the Excellence In Elementary School Science Teaching Award for 2013–14 on April 23. Just a couple of weeks earlier, she’d been named one of 97 teachers on the “Connecticut Dream Team,” a group selected by the state’s Department of Education to take part in TeachFest Connecticut, an intensive learning session devoted to developing resources on the Common Core State Standards and sharing those resources with other teachers.

“I am extremely humbled to receive this award,” says Worley, “especially because when I graduated from Keene, I received my degree in psychology and never thought I would be a teacher. Upon graduation, all of the jobs I was doing always led me back to classroom, and I couldn’t hide my love of teaching so I decided to go back to school to be a teacher. I am so happy that I made that choice and love going to work every day to provide exciting opportunities for students to interact with the world around them and learn more about their world and their place in it.”

Worley has been teaching for eight years. She taught second and third grade for five years at Jumoke Academy, a charter School in Hartford, CT, for five years, and then moved on to Discovery Academy, a Hartford magnet school focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, where she worked first as a kindergarten teacher and now as a second-grade teacher. “Teaching science has always been a passion of mine,” she says. “Seeing the students’ eyes light up when they discover something new about the world around them is so exciting. It is important to give students the opportunity to interact with their world in order to learn more about it—whether it is through experiments about what worms and snails eat, if a goldfish will swim through a tunnel in a fish tank, or how to keep a snowman from melting by building a snowman hut—as it allows the students to learn more, but apply their knowledge on their own level. Providing exciting and relevant science lessons increases the level of student engagement and furthers their thirst to learn more.”

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