Keeping students engaged in the classroom can sometimes be a tough challenge. Making sure they are also learning is another. A Swanson Elementary sixth grade teacher has received a national award for tackling those challenges.
If you take a peek inside Marlo Tomich's classroom it looks like any other, with books, pencils, and walls covered with posters. But what sets this classroom apart from the rest at Swanson Elementary is Tomich herself. This past summer she was one of two Nebraska teachers who received the presidential award of excellence in the areas of math and science teaching. An honor she did not expect. "I don't think I do anything different than any other teacher does,” said Tomich.
She has taught sixth grade for 18 years and a lot has changed in that time, “I think there's a lot more hats that a teacher wears...a lot more pressure,” said Tomich. But the one part of her job that has stayed the same is the relationships she tries to build with students which helps keep them engaged. “It's the students that make me come to school every day and to be a part of their learning career and help them be the best that they can be,” she said.
Tomich’s students share the enjoyment she feels every day in class. "She trusts us a lot, and she's very trustworthy you know you can keep your secrets safe with her,” said student, Elliot Bartling. “She helps us in our own type of way which I like a lot about Mrs. Tomich,” said student, Travis Agbosse. After winning this recognition Tomich says it's even more of an incentive to keep her teaching style the same. “Knowing that I’m doing what I do just because I love it, and then to be honored for doing what you do each day is a wonderful recognition, and I was very proud and I’m just gonna keep doing what I do,” said Tomich.
The winners of this award receive a letter from the president and $10,000. Tomich says she plans to bring resources and more hands-on initiatives into her classroom with this money.